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Library of 

** <., 




Being a Narrative 

of the Torpedoing and Sinking 

of the R. M. S. Lusitania 

by a German Submarine 

off the Irish Coast 

May 7, 1915 




With Illustrations 



dbc RitetfiDe prc<> Cambridge 



Published Octobtr K)iy 

Copyright in Great Britain, Ireland, 

and British Colonies, and in all 

countries under the Convention, by 

Charles E. Lauriat, Jr. 








Avert Thy gaze, O God, close tight Thine eyes! 
Glance down no longer on the ocean foam, 
Lest Thou behold such horrors as can turn 
Men's burning hearts to ice, and chill their souls. 

Keep Thine heart warm and full of charity 
That Thou mayst yet be able to forgive, 
And pity feel for those who know not when 
To pause in deeds of ruthless sacrifice. 

Restrain Thy wrath, and keep Thine hand in 


Smite not, nor fiercely thrust without the pale 
Those who can dare to strew the ocean waste 
With fellow creatures, innocent of wrong. 

Forget the studied purpose to destroy; 
The launching of the missile through the deep; 
The shattered hull; the crushed and bleeding forms; 
The seething swirl of wreckage, women, men. 

( vi) 

Remember that they know not what they do 
Who strike in deadly fear and ghastly hate; 
Remember that somehow, and at some time, 
Each crime exacts its human penalty. 

Remember that man's conscience and man's mind 
Are agents of Thy purpose and Thy plan, 
Which work within a deadlier revenge 
Than any shrapnel shot or sabre thrust. 

Remember that new generations come 
Upon whom fall the burden and the curse, 
The anguish of old hatreds and past wrongs, 
The crushing debt, the struggle and despair. 

Restrain, O God, the sweep of this vast hate; 
Recall the nations to their sense of shame: 
To those in blinding war, to us at peace, 
Reveal anew the message of the Christ. 


(Reprinted by permission of the 
author and of the Boston Trantcript) 

i Vii ) 




May lid, 1915 

OUR voyage from New York had been un- 
eventful and in fact it was quite a "Lauriat 
Crossing"; fine weather, smooth sea, and 
after the first few hours of Sunday (May 2) 
there had been no fog up to Friday morning 
(May 7), when it came in for a short 

The speed of the boat had not been what 
I had expected it would be, for after the first 
full run of 24 hours, in which we covered 501 
miles, the run dropped each day to well below 
the 500 mark, and the last 24 hours up to 


Friday noon (May 7) we made only 462 miles. 
This was partly accounted for by the fact that 
we picked up Greenwich time at Cape Clear 
and put the clock ahead 1 hour and 40 

The reason this small run impressed itself 
upon my mind was that I expected that 
when we sighted the Irish Coast the "Lucy'* 
would show a burst of "top speed" and that 
we should go flying up at not less than 25 
miles an hour. The run up to Thursday noon 
(May 6) had been 484 miles, and so confident 
was I that she would put on steam that I 
bought the high number in the pool (for 
Friday), which was 499. It was the only pool 
I went into and I couldn't help it, for the 
number sold at 3.0.0 and at that price it 
looked like a "bargain." 

During the forenoon of Thursday (May 6) 
we swung out and uncovered 22 lifeboats, 11 
on each side, showing Captain Turner's pre- 


paredness towards emergency. I was keenly 
interested in all that was done aboard ship as 
we approached the Irish Coast, and in fact all 
through the voyage I kept my eyes unusually 
wide open. 

At night the shades in the saloon were 
closely drawn, and I noticed that my bedroom 
steward left a note for the night watchman 
stating just which ports were open when he 
(the steward) went off duty. 

Friday noon when the run was posted I 
was surprised, for I certainly thought that 
this was the time to put on speed. The sea 
was smooth as a pancake, an ideal chance for 
a dash up the coast. When I heard the fog 
horn early Friday morning I turned over and 
took another snooze, for there was no use in 
getting up if it was foggy and disagreeable 
weather. The fog did not last long and was 
nothing more than a morning mist. 

I got up at noon and had time for a stroll 


around the deck before lunch at 1 o'clock. 
I noticed that we were not going anywhere 
near top speed and were following, as I re- 
membered, the usual course up the Irish 
Coast, that being about 5 to 7 miles dis- 
tant. I wondered at our loafing along at this 
gentle pace. 

When I bought my ticket at the Cunard 
Office hi Boston I asked if we were to be con- 
voyed through the war zone, and the reply 
made was, "Oh yes! every precaution will 
be taken." 

When we got into Queenstown I found 
the people furious through the act itself and 
disgusted that three torpedo-boat destroyers 
should have lain at anchor in Queenstown 
harbor all the tune the Lusitania was coming 
up the Irish Coast. Some of the men along 
the sea front told me that these boats had 
been out during the morning, but had come 
back for "lunch." They all turned up after 


the tragedy, but they could have been used 
to better advantage before it. 

After lunch I went to my stateroom and 
put on my sweater under the coat of the 
knickerbocker suit that I was wearing and 
went up on deck for a real walk. I came 
up the main companion-way and stepped 
out on the port side of the steamer and saw 
Mr. and Mrs. Elbert Hubbard standing by 
the rail, a little for'ard of the entrance. I 
joined them and was conversing with them 
when the torpedo struck the ship. In fact, 
Mr. Hubbard had just jokingly remarked 
that he didn't believe he would be a welcome 
traveller to Germany, owing to the little 
essay he had written entitled "Who Lifted 
the Lid Off Hell." Mr. Hubbard had not 
more than finished this remark when the 
shock came. This "essay" appeared in the 
"Philistine" for October, 1914, and Mr. 
Hubbard had given me a copy earlier on 


the voyage. If you want to read a piece 
of vitriolic English, I suggest that you send 
for a copy. 

Where I stood on deck the shock of the 
impact was not severe; it was a heavy, 
rather muffled sound, but the good ship 
trembled for a moment under the force of 
the blow; a second explosion quickly fol- 
lowed, but I do not think it was a second 
torpedo, for the sound was quite different; 
it was more likely a boiler in the engine room. 

As I turned to look hi the direction of the 
explosion I saw a shower of coal and steam 
and some debris hurled into the air between 
the second and third funnels, and then heard 
the fall of gratings and other wreckage that 
had been blown up by the explosion. 

Remember that I was standing well for'ard 

on the port side, and consequently looked 

back at the scene of the explosion, at an angle 

across to the starboard side; therefore, al- 



though the debris showed between the second 
and third funnels, I think the blow was de- 
livered practically in line with the fourth 

I looked immediately at my watch and 
it was exactly 8 minutes past 9 (A.M.) 
Boston time, which means 8 minutes past 
2 Greenwich time. 

I turned to the Hubbards and suggested 
that they go to their stateroom to get their 
life jackets. Their cabin was on deck B, on 
the port side, at the foot of the main com- 
panion-way, and they had ample time to go 
there and get back to the deck; but Mr. Hub- 
bard stayed by the rail affectionately holding 
his arm around his wife's waist and both 
seemed unable to act. 

I went straight down to my stateroom, 

which, as you will remember, was the most 

for'ard one on deck B on the starboard side. 

The boat had taken a list to starboard, but 



it was not acute, and so I had no difficulty in 
making my way to and from my cabin. I 
tied on a life belt, took the others in the room 
and my small leather case containing my 
business papers, and went up on deck to the 
port side. I went back to the spot where I 
had left the Hubbards, but they had gone, 
and I never saw them again. 

I found those who needed the life belts, 
put them on, tied them properly, and then 
went aft along the port side of the ship, 
for I was confident that all hands would 
naturally rush to the starboard side and so 
there would be more opportunity to help 
along the port side. I turned and walked 
for'ard toward the bridge, and Captain Tur- 
ner and Captain Anderson were both calling 
in stentorian tones not to lower away the 
boats, ordering all passengers and sailors to 
get out of them, saying that there was no dan- 
ger and that the ship would float. A woman 
( 10) 


passenger beside me called out to Captain 
Turner in a perfectly clear and calm voice, 
"Captain, what do you wish us to do?" 
"Stay right where you are, Madam, she's 
all right." Then the woman asked him, 
"Where do you get your information?" 
and he replied in rather a severe and com- 
manding voice, "From the engine room, 
Madam." She and I turned and walked 
quietly aft and tried to reassure the pas- 
sengers we met. 

As I looked around to see to whom I could 
be of the greatest help it seemed to me that 
about everyone who passed me wearing a 
life belt had it on incorrectly. In their hurry 
they put them on every way except the 
right way: one man had his arm through 
one armhole and his head through the 
other; others had them on around the waist 
and upside down; but very few had them on 
correctly. I stopped these people and spoke 


to them in a calm voice and persuaded them 
to let me help them on with the belts, for 
they certainly stood no show in the water 
rigged as they were. At first they thought I 
was trying to take their jackets from them, 
but on reassuring them they let me straighten 
them out. 

I had been watching carefully the list of 
the steamer, and by now I was confident 
that she wouldn't float and that the end was 
coming fast. I remembered one or two per- 
sonal things in my stateroom which I very 
much wanted, and I figured that I had time 
to go down and get them. If I didn't come 
through the final plunge, I wanted to feel I 
had them with me, and if I did get through, 
I was just as sure I wanted them, so there 
didn't seem anything to do but to get them, 
which I did. 

There was a companion-way for'ard of the 
main staircase, about half-way between it 


and my stateroom, so I went along the port 
passage inside of deck A, down that com- 
panion-way, and along the starboard pas- 
sage to my stateroom. It was not until I 
walked along this passage that I realized 
how acute was the list of the ship. My state- 
room was an inside one without a porthole, 
and consequently could be lighted only by 
electricity. I pressed the switch, but the light 
had gone, so I put my hand on a box of 
matches; for each night when I retired I 
placed a box in a particular place, just in 
case I needed it. With the aid of these 
matches I found the little article for which I 
was looking, opened my travelling bag, and 
took out some papers which included my 
passport and other envelopes that could 
easily be slipped into my inside pocket. 

I had kept my drafts on my person, for I 
figured that there was no use in giving them 
to the purser, except as a precaution against 
( 13) 


theft, and that was negligible. If what had 
happened was to happen, I knew there would 
be no time to reclaim them from the purser. 
I made my way back along the passage, 
walking in the angle formed by the floor 
and the side walls of the staterooms rather 
than the floor, and went back up the for'ard 
companion-way, the same that I came down. 
Going along the passage (on deck B) I 
looked down some of the cross passages that 
lead to the staterooms, and at the bottom of 
the ones I passed I saw that the portholes 
were open and that the water could not have 
been more than a few feet from them. Here 
let me state that I consider it most extraor- 
dinary that the portholes on the lower decks 
should not have been closed and sealed as we 
steamed through the war zone. At luncheon 
the portholes hi the dining-saloon on deck 
D were open, and so I doubt not that 
all the others on that deck were open. 
( 14) 


I mean those in the staterooms. I cannot 
speak with certainty in regard to the port- 
holes on deck E. I believe that the first list 
the ship took brought her down to these 
open ports on the starboard side and that 
she sank much more quickly from filling 
through them. 

On my return to the deck I felt that the 
steamer must make her final plunge any mo- 
ment now, and as there was nothing more that 
could be done on the port side for there was 
no discipline or order with which to do it I 
passed through to the starboard side. Men 
were striving to lower the boats and were 
putting women and children into them, but it 
seemed to me that it only added horror to 
the whole situation to put people into a 
boat that you knew never would be cleared 
and which would go down with the steamer; 
better leave them on the deck to let them 

take their chance at a piece of wreckage. 


True, there was no panic, in the sense that 
anyone crowded or pushed his way to the 
lifeboats, but there was infinite confusion, 
and there seemed no one to take command of 
any one boat. 

As I came out on the starboard side, I 
saw, a little aft of the mam entrance, a 
lifeboat well filled with people, principally 
women and children, that no one had at- 
tempted to clear from the davits. The 
steamer was rapidly sinking, and I realized 
that the boat must be cleared at once if 
the people were to be saved. 

I climbed into the stern of the boat, which 
was floating flush with the rail of deck B, 
so far had the steamer settled, and helped 
clear the fall. We freed our end and swung 
the ropes clear, but we couldn't make anyone 
for'ard understand what to do or how to 
do it. 

I remember looking for'ard and seeing 
( 16) 


someone, I think it was a steward, bravely 
cutting away at the thick ropes with a pocket 
knife. How I wish he had had an axe! 
What would I have given for one real sailor 
man for'ard; we could have saved that 
boatload of people. I started to go for'ard, 
but it impossible to climb through that 
boatload of people, mixed up as they were 
with oars, boat hooks, kegs of water, 
rope ladders, sails, and God knows what 
everything that seemed to hinder progress 
to getting for'ard. The steamer was 
all the time rapidly settling, and to look 
at the tremendous smokestack hanging 
out over us only added to the terror 
of the people in the boat. I certainly 
did not blame them, for it was a har- 
rowing sight, even to one as familiar with 
the ocean as I am. However, I should 
have gone for'ard and made the try, ex- 
cept that the stern end of the boat was 
( 17) 


raised by a small swell of the ocean and I 
was impressed by the nearness of the davit 
by getting a blow on the back which nearly 
knocked me overboard. 

Then I admit that I saw the hopeless- 
ness of ever clearing the f or'ard davit in time 
to get the boat away, so I stepped out and 
made a try for it by swimming. I spoke to 
several and urged them to come; but truly 
they were petrified, and only my training 
from boyhood up, in the water and under it, 
gave me the courage to jump. I swam about 
100 feet away from the ship and then turned 
around to see if anyone was following to 
whom I could lend a hand, and found several 
who needed encouragement. Also I wanted 
to see when the final plunge of the steamer 
came, that I might be the more ready to 
fight against the vortex and tell the others. 
The Lusitania did not go down anything 
like head first: she had, rather, settled along 
( 18) 


her whole water line. This convinces me 
that practically all the ports must have been 
open, even those as far down as Deck E. 
The stern did not rise to anything like a 
perpendicular, nor did it rise so high that I 
could see a single one of the propellers or 
even the end of her rudder. Not one of 
her funnels fell. 

The last I saw of the lifeboat out of which I 
jumped was that she was being pulled down, 
bow first, as the tackle had not been freed 
and the stern of the boat was rising high in 
the air. While the people were thrown out, 
they were not so violently thrown as those 
from some of the lifeboats that were dropped 
when half lowered into the water. 

There was very little vortex; there was 
rather a shooting out from the ship instead 
of a sucking in, after she sank; this I am told 
was partly caused by the water rushing into 
her funnels and being blown out again by ex- 
( 19 ) 


plosions made by the mixing of the cold water 
of the sea with the steam of the boilers. I 
saw an interesting statement in one of the 
papers, purporting to have come from Cap- 
tain Turner, in which he stated that the small 
amount of suction was probably due to the 
fact that the bow of the boat was already 
resting on the bottom when the stern went 
down. This seems quite feasible, as she sank 
in about 60 fathoms (360 feet) of water and 
she was 755 feet long. 

The sea was wonderfully smooth, and it 
seemed to me that if one could keep clear of 
the wreck and pick up a lifeboat, that it 
could be manned and that we could go 
back and get many survivors. I was able to 
work this out quite as I planned. 

As I waited for the final plunge something 

caught me on the top of my head and slipped 

down to my shoulders, pressing me under 

the water; I couldn't imagine what it was, 



but on turning to see I found that it was 
one of the aerials of the wireless that stretched 
from topmast to topmast. 

The present style of life belt, or rather 
jacket, is not the old-fashioned kind filled 
with hard cork, but a larger and more bulky 
affair filled with fibre, and when you have 
it on you look and feel like a padded foot- 
ball player, especially around the shoulders. 
When I shook this wire off my head, it 
caught me around the shoulders on the soft 
pad, and I couldn't shake it off. It took me 
down under the water and turned me upside 
down. I tell you I "kicked." I came up 
none the worse for my ducking, for it simply 
reminded me of one of my various trips down 
to see "Susy the Mermaid" when I was a 
youngster at Camp Asquam and the older 
boys used to duck us youngsters anywhere 
from five to fifteen times a day, according to 

the unpardonable sins we were supposed to 

(21 ) 


have committed; and these weren't mere 
"duckings" either. They used to push us 
under, put their feet on our shoulders, and 
then give a good shove, so that we went down 
anywhere from six to sixteen feet under 
water. I hated the duckings at that time, 
but they proved mighty good training! 

When I came up, after shaking the Mar- 
coni wire, the waves bearing the wreckage 
and people were upon me. After swimming 
around and helping those I could by pushing 
them pieces of wreckage to which to cling, 
I saw a short distance away a collapsible 
lifeboat floating right side up, swam to it, 
and climbed aboard. A seaman quickly fol- 
lowed, and a fine husky chap he proved to be. 
I heard my name called, and for the moment 
I didn't realize whether it was a call from 
Heaven or Hell, but when I turned in the di- 
rection of the voice I found the man to be 

G , one of the three men with whom I 

( 22 ) 


had played cards each evening. I pulled 
him up on the boat, and we three got out our 
jackknives and went at a kind of can-open- 
ing operation, which was really the remov- 
ing of the canvas cover of the boat. 

They call that invention a "boat," but to 
start with, it is nothing but a "raft." Let 
me try to draw you a word picture and see 
if you will understand it. 

Suppose you floated a real lifeboat in the 
water, and at the water line cut down the sides 
so that the bottom of the boat that was left 
floated flush with the water. Then deck over 
and make watertight this part of the boat 
that is left. This gives you a round bot- 
tomed, watertight raft, floating almost flush 
with the water. 

Take a long piece of about 24-inch high (or 

wide) canvas that will reach all around the 

sides from one end back to the same end. Nail 

the lower edge of this canvas to the outside 

( 23 ) 


edge of the "raft." To enable you to raise 
these "collapsible" canvas sides and to keep 
them hi place, make a stout rail that will be 
curved to the shape of the floor of the "raft" 
and nail the top edge of the canvas on to it. 

This now "collapsible boat," with its fold- 
ing canvas sides, is of course shallow, and 
about three or four of them can be nested 
on the deck of a steamer in the space occu- 
pied by a "real lifeboat." There is a canvas 
cover laced down over the top of these boats, 
the same as on regular boats. 

Before you can do anything with a collap- 
sible lifeboat you must make it a "real 
boat" by lifting up its canvas sides and lash- 
ing them in place so they can't collapse. 
Until this is done you have nothing but a 
"raft." It is almost impossible to lift the rail 
into place if there are people hanging on to it, 
as that would mean lifting the people as well. 
Also, you can't lift the sides, which automat- 


ically raise the cross seats, if there is anyone 
lying across the boat, and you can't get on 
the "raft" without getting on the seats. 
We tried to persuade the people who were 
hanging on to the rail to take off then* hands 
and hang on to the life ropes but that was 
impossible. Never have I heard a more dis- 
tressing cry of despair than when I tried to 
tell one of them that that was what we were 
doing. In their condition I don't wonder 
they thought we were trying to push them 
off. So we had to take some aboard, those 
who were in the most panicky condition, and 
try to get up the sides with the "raft" half 
covered with people. 

The seats of these boats are attached to 
an iron brace which is supposed to slide on a 
metal run in the middle of the boat. A 
wooden brace at either end is held in place by 
a pin when the sides are raised to their proper 
height, but, as the saying is, "There warn't 


no pin" and the wooden brace in my end of 
the boat was broken and the metal run for the 
iron braces of the seats was so rusted and cor- 
roded that it wasn't a "run;" so there we 
were, back to a raft again. 

Not an oar in the boat, nor even a stick with 
which to reach wreckage so that we could 
block up the seats. We must get those seats 
braced up to give us the protection of the can- 
vas sides, and they mustn't fall down either, 
because then the "boat" became a "raft," 
the people became a little more panicky, and 
the falling seats hurt and slightly injured the 
people sitting between them, for of course 
we had to seat those too exhausted to pull 
and haul on the floor between the seats. 
We had to have some oars too to make 
the boat navigable, so we fished round in the 
wreckage and were fortunate to get five oars 
(one broken, but that served me as a steer- 
ing oar) and some blocks. Then with a long 


heave and a heave all together we raised the 
blasted seats as far as possible, but not to 
their proper height, and jammed the blocks 
under them. We were lucky to get blocks 
that act as supports to a real lifeboat, which, 
as you know, have notches cut on the long 
side. These blocks are like little steps, so 
that we were able to shove them under the 
seats to the limit. 

About the fifth man aboard the boat was 
a chap named B ; he was a husky, no mis- 
take. He weighed about 200 pounds and 

was all good material. This man G was 

another good one too; he deserved his name. 
By this time we must have had fifteen peo- 
ple in our now "non-collapsible boat." Let 
us thank God for the "non." 

I went aft and took the steering oar and 

my two huskies, B and the sailor man, 

rowed the heavy sweeps, and G stayed 

for'ard to help the people in. We headed 


back into the wreckage and picked up those 
who seemed most urgently in need. 

I won't enter into the detail of the condi- 
tion of the poor souls we got, but two instances 
of nerve stand out so clearly in my mind that 
I must tell them. Both pertain to women, 
and never have I seen greater courage and 
patience shown by anyone. 

I heard a call near my end of the boat and 
told the boys to back water, and I reached 
over and pulled hi a woman who I thought 
at first glance was a negress; I never be- 
lieved a white woman could be so black. I 
learned afterwards that she and her husband 
had got into a lifeboat, and while he was busy 
helping to clear it she got panic-stricken by 
the tremendous overhanging funnels and 
jumped back on to the steamer without her 
husband knowing it. She was aboard when 
the final plunge came, and the suction took 
her part way down one of the funnels, but 


the thankful explosion blew her forth, out 
into clear water, in among the wreckage, 
where she could hang on. The clothes were 
almost blown off the poor woman, and there 
wasn't a white spot on her except her teeth 
and the whites of her eyes. Marvellous to 
say she wasn't hurt and proved a great help 
in cheering us all by her bright talk. 

For coolness I think this second case is 
even more remarkable. We had about as 
many hi our boat as we ought to take when 
I heard a woman's voice say, in just as nat- 
ural a tone of voice as you would ask for 
another slice of bread and butter, "Won't 
you take me next? you know I can't swim." 
WTien I looked over into the mass of wreck- 
age from which this voice emanated all I 
could see was a woman's head, with a piece 
of wreckage under her chin and with her 
hair streaming out over other pieces of wreck- 
age. She was so jammed in she couldn't even 
( 29 ) 


get her arms out, and with it all she had a half 
smile on her face and was placidly chewing 
gum. The last I saw of her when I helped 
her off the boat at Queenstown was that she 
was still chewing that piece of gum, and I 
shouldn't be surprised if she had it yet. Of 
course, we couldn't leave her, and as there 
was no possible way that I dared try to get 
her without going into the water for her, I 
told her that if she'd keep cool I'd come 
after her. To my surprise she said it was 
not at all necessary, just hand her an oar 
and she'd hang on. That is the last thing 
in the world I should ever have dared to do, 
for naturally I thought, in view of the fact 
that she could not swim, that as soon as I 
cleared away the wreckage with an oar she'd 
get rattled and sink. After what she had 
said I got my huskies to back through the 
wreckage till my oar would reach to her. 
Then I placed it as close to her face as I 


could and she wriggled around and got her 
two hands on the oar, held fast, and we pulled 
her through. 

Then we rowed for the shore. G took 

the for'ard port oar, and somewhere in the 
shuffle we had picked up a couple of the stok- 
ers, and while they weren't very big men they 
were red-headed cockneys and they were 
trumps. Their conversation was something 
to remember; I shall never forget it. They 

two rowed the for'ard starboard oar, B 

rowed the after port oar, and the sailor man 
rowed the after starboard oar. Others helped 
push on the oars and so we had a good crew. 
I steered for a lighthouse on the coast, for 
I didn't know whether the Marconi operator 
had had time to send out an S. O. S., or if 
he had, whether or not it had been picked up. 
It was a good long row ashore and I knew we 
could not get there until after dark, and it 
was much better to land on a shore, however 
(31 ) 


barren, near a lighthouse than to land on 
that part where there might not be an inhab- 
itant for miles; also I saw the sail of a fisher- 
man between us and the lighthouse, so I 
had two goals for which to steer. 

The lighthouse for which we were steering 
was that on the Head of Old Kinsale. There 
were already two real lifeboats between us 
and the shore. We had stayed around and 
picked up everyone who seemed to be in the 
most helpless condition. Those we were 
forced to leave were as safe as if we had over- 
crowded them into our flimsy craft. The 
calmness of the sea was the only thing that 
enabled us to take on so many, with any 
degree of safety. 

We must have rowed about a quarter of a 
mile toward shore, when off in the distance 
I saw one lone man floating around by him- 
self. He seemed to prefer his own society to 
anyone's else by going off "on his own," 


but apparently he had changed his mind and 
got lonesome, for he sure did yell. He looked 
safe enough, as he had one of the big round 
white lifebuoys around his body, under his 
arms, and he was perfectly safe from sinking. 
I was pretty sure that according to the rules 
of the blessed "Board of Trade" we had 
all the people in our boat that our license 
would allow us to carry. Still I headed for 
the chap, for you couldn't go off and leave 
that one more soul float ing around. It was 
lucky we went for him for he was in pretty 
bad shape, but recovered all right after we 
got him ashore. This chap turned out to be 

McM , a fine Canadian fellow and a man 

of some experience in shipwreck, for he was 
on the Republic when she sank. 

After rowing about two miles we came up 

to the fishing smack, and although they had 

already taken on two boatloads, they made 

room for us. Before anyone left our boat 

(33 ) 


I counted heads and found we had 32 aboard ! 
It wasn't just the time to hunt souvenirs, 
but I took my steersman's oarlock with me; 
it will do for a paper weight. 

Aboard the fisherman I witnessed one of 
the most affecting scenes of all. It seems 
that the husband of the temporary negress we 
picked up was aboard, and as we approached 
she recognized him and called to him; but 
he stood at the rail with a perfectly blank 
expression on his face and refused to recognize 
his own wife. Not until we were directly 
alongside and he could lean over and look the 
woman squarely in the face did he realize 
that his wife had been given back to him. 

The old fishermen did everything in their 
power for us; they pulled up all the blankets 
from their bunks, they started the fire and 
made us tea while tea lasted, and after that 
boiled us water. The old ship was positively 
slippery with fish scales and the usual dirt 


of fishermen, but the deck of that boat, 
under our feet, felt as good as the front 
halls of our own homes. 

The sight aboard that craft was a pitiful 
one, for while most of the first two boat- 
loads of people that got aboard were dry, 
many of them had in their excitement re- 
moved much of their clothing before getting 
into the boat and consequently were, by 
this time, pretty thoroughly chilled. Those 
in my boat were in the saddest condition, 
for each one had been thoroughly soaked 
and some of them had been through terrible 
experiences. There is practically no cabin 
on one of these little fishermen, so all hands 
had to stay on deck, except a few that were 
able to help themselves down into the so- 
called cabin. The worst injured of course 
had to stay on deck. I gave my sweater to 
a chap who had on nothing but an under- 
shirt and a pair of trousers, and I loaned my 
(35 ) 


coat to a woman until we got into Queens- 
town. There were not nearly enough blan- 
kets aboard for each to have one. There 
were over 80 people on that small boat. 

After being aboard about an hour we were 
picked up by the steamer Flying Fish 
which had come down from Queenstown. 
We were made comfortable on this good old 
packet. You will remember she is a side- 
wheeler and one of the tenders that came 
out to meet the ocean steamers before they 
were not too proud to stop at Queenstown. 

The ocean was so calm that when we 
transferred our passengers to the Flying 
Fish we were able to lay the fisherman 
alongside the steamer and those who could 
stepped across. The two boats lay so close 
and steadily together that we carried our 
cripples across in our arms. The smooth- 
ness of the ocean must have been a special 
dispensation from Heaven. 


We were torpedoed at 8 minutes past 2. 
I went overboard and my watch stopped at 
9:30 Boston time, 2:30 Greenwich. I 
figure I was hi the water three or four min- 
utes before my watch stopped. I think the 
sweater which I had on under my coat 
and the life belt that I had tied on made 
it slower work for the water to get at my 

We must have been an hour and a half 
getting the boat into shape and picking up 
the people from the wreckage, and we must 
have been rowing two hours before we reached 
the fishing smack at 6:00. 

By 7:00 we were on the Flying Fish, and 
tied up to the pier in Queenstown at 9:15, so 
you see we fared quite well. It was quite 
ludicrous to be held up by the patrol boat 
at the mouth of Queenstown Harbour and 
to be asked in formal tones, "What ship is 
that?" and to hear the captain reply, 


"The ship Flying Fish, with survivors of 
the Lusitania." Word was immediately 
given us to go on. 

This is where there came very near 
being a real fight. It happened this way 
Two steamers had passed the Flying Fish 
on the way in and were tied up at the Cunard 
dock ahead of us, so we were told to land 
at the dock below. That was all very 
well, but the captain informed us that we 
couldn't go ashore until he had reported to 
the "inspector." I knew that the 100 odd 
people that we had on the Flying Fish 
didn't care about any "inspector" that ever 
grew in the town of Queenstown, but what 
they wanted and needed and ought to have 
was hot drink and food just as soon as they 
could get it. The captain, with true Irish 
stubbornness, went to do his duty ashore as 
"he seen it." We let the captain get around 

the corner out of sight and then G and 



I started to put the gangplank over, but 
were told by some figure standing on the dock 
that we must wait for the captain's return. 
We gave this figure, whom we presume was 
a guard, three seconds to get out of the way 
or get knocked down by the gangplank. 
He moved, and we ran out the gangplank 
and handed our passengers ashore. Those 
who were able to navigate by themselves 
walked up the streets to the various hotels. 
Then we got down to our two cripples: one 
was a man in our collapsible lifeboat and 
one a woman we found on the fishing smack. 
Each had a broken leg. And right here let me 
tell you an instance of nerve displayed by 

this man B , whose leg was broken. We 

had taken him into our boat before we got 
the seats braced up, for he was in pretty 
bad shape and we were afraid to leave him 
longer in the water. He was in the bottom 
of the boat, partially sitting on one of the 


seats, and when we endeavored to heave up 
on them, I spoke to him rather roughly and 
asked him if he couldn't get off. He looked 
up to me with half a smile and said, "I 
would, old chap; but did you know I have 
a broken leg and can't move very fast?" I 
was careful how I spoke after that! 

I went ashore to see if I could find an am- 
bulance or stretchers. A little way up the 
street in front of the Cunard office I found 
about 20 Naval Reserve men drawn up in 
squares of four; each squad was armed with 
a folding canvas stretcher. They were as fine 
a lot of men as I ever saw, and when I told 
them I had two cripples and needed two 
stretchers they didn't wait there for any 
commands from a real officer; they just 
asked me where were they, and I marched 
them down to the boat double quick. 

It was low tide when we got into Queens- 
town and consequently the landing had to be 


made from the top of the paddle box. This 
necessitated all hands going up a very narrow 
companion-way, built on the side of the 
paddle box and so too narrow and too steep 
to permit the carrying of a stretcher. I 
went aboard and carried the two cripples 
ashore on my back. To get them ashore 
this way must have hurt them terribly, but 
never a groan from the woman nor from the 
man. The fact that injured people could 
show such nerve as this gave us fellows who 
were not injured the physical strength to 
do all that we did do. 

One of the women in our boat went along 
with the girl with the broken leg to the 
hospital, and so I felt she'd be well taken care 

of. This chap B refused to let anyone 

accompany him to the Marine Hospital, 
having perfect confidence in the four Naval 
Reserve men who carried the stretcher, and 
certainly that confidence was justified. 
(41 ) 


The last chap we picked up in the boat, 

McM , had a badly sprained ankle, and 

as I seemed about the right height he was 
using me as a human crutch. 

When we went up the street in Queens- 
town it was filled with people willing to 
help and do anything hi their power to relieve 
our sufferings. I have heard stories of 
Scottish hospitality, but I never saw any- 
thing more spontaneous or genuine or more 
freely given than the Irish hospitality of 

McM and I were hi pretty good 

shape and were well dried off, and while his 
ankle pained him a good deal and I was pretty 
much cut up around the forehead and nose 
by the aerial, we were able to navigate by 

We went directly to the Post Office and 
I sent my "Safe and Sound" cable to you 

people. Then McM and I went up the 

'( 42 ) 


street, and the hospitality of Queenstown 
storekeepers, inspired by the idea of mak- 
ing a few extra sales had caused them 
to open their shops at that time of night, 
and we went in and bought a couple of sets 
of pajamas of the thickest wool that I ever 
put on. "Out-sizes" they were, but they 
proved none too "out." About the second 
time they are washed I expect they will fit 
the boy, but they felt mighty comfortable 
that night. 

We had quite a time finding a place to 
rest our weary heads and warm our chilled 
bodies. I kept away from the two main 
hotels, because I knew they were filled with 
the people who arrived on the first two 
steamers. When we got near the centre of 
the town I asked a native to tell us of some 
small place where we could get rooms. He 
directed us to the little hostelry "Imperial 
Bar." It was a perfectly appropriate name. 


The hospitality of the manageress was "Im- 
perial" and the "Bar" was good. 

At the door we found a Mr. and Mrs. 

K . He was badly injured. He had 

been brought to the hotel by the reserves on 
a stretcher. He was not in bad enough 
shape to go to a hospital, but he couldn't 

walk. The K 's got a double room and 

McM and I took the other spare 


He turned in and I turned out. I went 
down into the town, for I knew I could be 
of help to some of the survivors. I got back 
at midnight and went to bed. I didn't 
have to lie awake and think about going to 
sleep, for I had been standing and moving 
around under a strain for some 10 hours, 
so I just passed off into a dead, dreamless 
sleep. My clothes were almost dry, and I 
wasn't suffering from a chill. We have al- 
ways heard that Scottish hospitality is ac- 


companied by a draught of the national 
beverage, and in justice to the old landlady I 
must say that she didn't omit to give me a 
draught of the Irish national beverage. She 
told me it was made by her old grandfather, 
and certainly he knows how to make Irish 

whiskey! I woke up McM and we 

repeated the dose on him. He didn't cry at 
being waked up in a good cause! 

Saturday morning I was up and dressed at 
six o'clock, and the dear old woman gave me 
a dish of tea and some bread and butter in 
the kitchen, and I started for the town to buy 
some raiment for people that I knew were 
practically destitute. I had dressed in the 
kitchen, where it was warm and my clothes 
were dry. My wardrobe was complete, even 
to my shoes, for I had not removed anything 
when I went overboard. The landlady had 
kept the fire going all night and had dried all 
our apparel, but as the other three were not 


going out as early as I was she gave mine the 
preference, and I left the house feeling warm 
and comfortable. 

As I walked down from our little hotel I 
shall never forget that beautiful morning in 
the quaint old town of Queenstown. The 
sun was shining warmly, and hardly a breath 
of air was stirring. As the day grew older 
and the people who had been rescued turned 
out into the street, it was as sad a sight as 
I ever care to see. It was surprising that so 
many people had removed most of their 
clothing before taking to the water the day 

I found many who had no ready cash, and 
I soon made good use of the English pounds 
I had bought before I left home. Then I 
bethought myself of the 40.0.0 draft I 
had. I had not *' crossed " this, so it was good 
for cash if I could get anybody to cash it. 

The bank doesn't open at Queenstown until 


10 o'clock, and you can bet I was there at 
ten minutes to. I rang the bell and got in- 
side, took out the still half-soaked draft, 
endorsed it in the presence of the cashier, 
handed it in and said I would take the 
40.0.0 half in gold and half in paper. He 
told me he didn't know me; and I told him 
that didn't make any difference, I didn't 
know him. He said he couldn't guarantee 
my signature, but I told him that I thought 
my signature was as good as his money. I 
produced my soaked passport and showed him 
my autograph on that, to compare with that 
on the draft, and I told him that I had about 
12 half -starved, half -naked Americans that 
had to be fed and clothed, and certainly his 
big Irish heart wouldn't permit him to refuse 
to cash an honest draft. I told him I in- 
tended to stay right there until I got it; and 
I did, and I talked to him a steady string, 
and I didn't get a bit hard-hearted when 
(47 ) 


he told me he'd probably lose his job if the 
draft turned out bad. The 40.0.0 was a 
God-send. I divided it up into as small 
fractions as possible, and it was able to help 
out a number of people. 

Right here I want to say that the United 
States consul at Queenstown, Wesley Frost, 
is a real man, and before noon word had 
been passed around that Ambassador Page 
had sent him plenty of funds for all Ameri- 
cans. Perhaps if I had known this money 
was coming, I wouldn't have given that hon- 
est Irish paying teller in the bank such an 
attack of heart disease. 

Then I went back to the "Bar" and my 
landlady gave me a real breakfast, for I felt 
that I needed to get stoked up a bit before I 
took on the unhappy task of viewing the 
bodies to see if I could identify any of my 
fellow passengers. It was a hard thing to 
put through, and I regret to say that it was 


without satisfactory results, for I found not 
one that I knew. 

In the slip beside the Cunard wharf there 
were six lifeboats, Nos. 1, 11, 13, 15, 19, and 
21; these were all starboard boats, and you 
will notice what a jump there is between 
the numbers 1 and 11. As the ship went 
down by the head, of course it gave more 
time to clear the after boats which carry the 
higher numbers. I didn't see one boat suc- 
cessfully cleared from the port side. 

I had decided to go through that day to 
London on the 3 o'clock train and help 
through the K 's. McM , my bed- 
fellow, had found his friend L , and as he 

was in good hands and wanted to rest up a 
bit he decided to stay. There was no chance 

of getting K up on to a jaunting car, 

he was suffering too much, so I went out into 

the street and held up a private motor car, 

for you couldn't hire one in Queenstown, and 



after a few words of explanation the owner 
came gladly to the hotel and took Mr. and 

Mrs. K to the station. 

We had a comfortable trip to Kingstown 
and got aboard the Irish mail packet for an- 
other little trip on the water. We had tele- 
graphed ahead for a cabin, and we got K 

stretched out in one of the berths and made 
him as comfortable as we could. He slept 

from sheer exhaustion. Mrs. K and I 

half sat up on the opposite sofa. Shortly the 
steamer was under way. It was not what you 
would call a desirable cabin, for it was directly 
over the engines and they pounded terrifically; 
I'll admit that about every throb of the en- 
gines went through the pit of my stomach, 
but finally I dozed off, for I was pretty much 
"all in." I must have waked at intervals of 
ten or fifteen minutes, and on looking out of 
the corner of my eye at Mrs. K I saw 

one of the most charming pieces of devotion 


that I have ever witnessed. I am confident 
she never closed her eyes all night nor did she 
take them off her husband's face she just 
silently watched. I had slept about an hour, 
when I went up on deck to see what was doing. 
In passing through the saloon a weird sight 
met my eyes and one that I am glad the 

K 's did not see. Every man who had 

been a passenger on the Lusitania was sitting 
by a table or reclining on a couch, with a life- 
belt strapped around him. Many had the 
original ones from the Lusitania. It was 
certainly "a gloom." I went up on deck 
and that was still more weird. Not a light 
to be seen; every porthole was heavily cur- 
tained and heavy canvas was stretched along 
the side, and the only thing visible was the 
masthead light. It was blowing half a gale 
and we were making 23.8 knots per hour. 
As I came around the corner from the 
shelter of the cabin the wind nearly struck 


me off my feet. The canvas was slatting 
back and forth with reports like cannon, and 
I clung to the rail fascinated by this wild dash. 
Would that the " Lucy " had shown such speed ! 
There was a haze that could almost be called 
a fog, but no horn was sounded as we tore 
through the black night. I crawled back to 
the shelter of the cuddy and there found the 
second Officer. He was a fine chap and we 
had a chat in his cabin. That wild dash I 
shan't forget for one while! 

We arrived on time at Holyhead and I 
found the stateroom on the train for which I 
had wired. Clad in that famous pan* of Irish 
pajamas, before the train hauled out of the 
station I was dead to the world. It must have 
been just about one o'clock A.M. I knew 
nothing until quarter to seven, when the 
attendant told me that we would arrive at 
Euston in 15 minutes. He brought in a dish 

of tea and some bread and butter. Ye gods, 


didn't that taste good! I had had no food 
for twelve hours. I asked him for a repeat 
order. Then I went back in the train and 
found the K 's, and they were quite re- 
freshed and told me not to bother with them 
longer, as they could manage to get in a taxi 
as soon as they were dressed. They were 
going to her parents, who live in London. 

I left them for a moment saying that I 
would return and stepped out on the plat- 
form. Euston Station at seven o'clock on 
a Sunday morning is generally not a lively 
place, and I didn't think that there would be 
anyone there, or at least not more than a few 
people to meet friends. I hadn't stepped a 
foot from the door of the coach when I was 
almost mobbed by a bunch of reporters. 
Talk of it. Good heavens, I wanted quiet; 
I didn't want to be interviewed. I stood per- 
fectly still and never said a word; they must 
have thought I was tongue-tied. Then a 


poor old woman pushed her way through 
and asked me, with tears in her eyes, if I 
had seen "Johnny Keene." How could I 
answer her? From her appearance I judge 
he must have been a stoker or in the third 
cabin. I told her as gently as I could that 
I hadn't seen him, but many others were 
coming through in the second and third 
sections and he might be among them. 
When the reporters found they couldn't get 
anything out of me they cleared out, and 
I was surrounded by friends and relatives of 
the passengers, who asked me a dozen ques- 
tions, but I couldn't give any cheerful answers. 
My nerve wasn't any too good for this ordeal, 
and I was fast breaking down when a young 
man pushed through and asked me if I was 
an American. When I told him " Yes " he 
said that he was secretary to Ambassador 
Page, and was there anything he could do 
for me. I almost fell on his neck with joy, 
(54 ) 


and he took me down to where the Ambas- 
sador was standing and introduced me to him. 
It was a pleasure to hear Ambassador Page 
say, "What, not the son of the Mr. Lauriat 
of Boston"! So you see, my father, your 
name is not without honour in your own 
city. The Ambassador's sympathy was 
warmly expressed, and he was putting me 
into the Embassy motor car for I didn't 
care where I went as long as I got away from 
that station platform when I saw Mr. Wai- 
ford coming down the platform. I excused 
myself and stopped him. 

I had wired Mr. Walford (our resident 
London agent) before leaving Queenstown, 
asking him to meet me if convenient and to 
have a taxi. I knew that he lived far out in 
the suburbs, and that if he were not fore- 
warned there would be no way of his getting 
to the station on Sunday morning. Pre- 
viously hi the day (Saturday) when I had 


wired him to cable you, I had added the 
words that I would wire my plans later in 
the day. This second wire which I sent from 
Queenstown did not reach him, although he 
waited at his shop until 8 o'clock Saturday 

He had decided that if there was any way 
of getting directly through to London that 
I would come. So he set his clock for 4 
A.M., got up, made himself a cup of tea, 
and walked from his house to Euston, a dis- 
tance of 9 miles that's some demonstration 
of friendship! 

He insisted that I come to his house, and 
I certainly wanted to do so, for his home 
looked better to me than the Hotel Kings- 
ley or the Embassy. I took Mr. Walford 
back to the Ambassador and introduced 
him. On explaining the situation to Mr. 
Page he told me by all means to follow my 

own wishes. 



We arrived at the home in the suburbs 
and Mrs. Walford was there to give me a 
hearty welcome. I must have been a "sad 
sketch" as I walked into their hospitable 
home. I had no hat, for I hadn't spent the 
time to get one at Queenstown and I knew 
I had one here hi London. I hadn't had a 
comb in my hair since I got up Friday noon. 
All my worldly possessions were in a small 
" brown-paper parcel" tucked under my 
arm; so even Ben Franklin didn't have much 
on me when he struck Philadelphia in the 
old days, as the story goes. 

After breakfast they tucked me into bed 
with a-big-fat-hot-water-bottle, and after a 
few hours' sleep under that hospitable roof 
I was quite myself again. A hot tub and 
shave put on the final touches. 

Monday morning, despite their kind invi- 
tation to stay with them as long as I wished, I 
felt I ought to take up my abode at the Hotel 


Kingsley and commence picking up the 
threads of business, although I knew I should 
feel pretty much lost when I had not a 
single memorandum "to get on with." My 
small leather case containing all my business 
papers had gone down with the Lusitania. 
Think of a " Lauriat " trying to do business 
without a lot of neat little folders sitting 
around his desk! 

I shall follow with keen interest the 
Official Inquiry to be held by Lord Mersey, 
for I want to see if these points are brought 

1. WHAT were the instructions from the 
Admiralty for the navigation of the ship 
and were they carefully followed out? 

2. WHY were we not running top speed? 

3. WHY were the portholes on decks D 
open? Never mind the "why," but I should 
like to have the fact established as to 

whether they were or were not open. 


4. WHY did Captain Turner and Cap- 
tain Anderson give orders to the crew to 
"Stop lowering the boats" on the port side 
and for the passengers "to get out of the 
boats"? That is the exact phraseology they 
used. It seemed to me that boats on the 
port side should have been lowered at once 
as the more the steamer listed the less pos- 
sible it would be to clear them. 
. There are three suggestions I shall hope to 
see put before the Board that are based on the 
experiences of the catastrophe. They are : 

1. The thing that impressed me most as 
the people rushed back and forth on the 
steamer was that more than half of those 
who had on life jackets had them on incor- 
rectly. I should like to see recommended to 
the Board that a law (international, if possi- 
ble) be passed, that when a person buys a 
steamship ticket for a transatlantic crossing, 
no matter for what class, he or she shall 


be obliged to put on a sample life jacket, 
which shall always be kept in the main of- 
fices of the steamship company and in the 
offices of all their agents, and that the pros- 
pective passenger shall be obliged to put it 
on, fasten it to him, and walk around the 
office four or five times until he gets familiar 
with the touch of it and knows how to put 
it on correctly. It is all very well to hang up 
neat little signs in the staterooms telling 
passengers how to put them on and showing 
where the jackets are, but from what I saw 
on the Lusitania I don't believe one person 
in fifty follows these suggestions. 

Of course I can hear the steamship com- 
panies remonstrate and say that this sugges- 
tion is inconvenient, impracticable, etc., etc.; 
but as long as people cross the ocean there 
will be such disasters as the Titanic and the 
Empress of Ireland, but we hope never 

again such a tragedy as the Lusitania. 


If it is convenient for the prospective 
passenger to put on the life jacket, his ticket 
should be so stamped with some large 
distinctive mark as to show that he has 
complied with the law. Those who have not 
tried on the life jacket should not have the 
ticket stamped; but immediately after leav- 
ing port, when the tickets are collected, they 
should be examined, and all those passen- 
gers who have not complied with the law 
shall be looked out by an officer and then 
instructed as to where the life jackets are 
in the staterooms and how to put them on. 
Certainly in this way people would become 
familiar with the sight and touch of a life 
jacket, and in a disaster, the passenger would 
be spared that additional shock that comes 
to the stoutest heart when one puts it on 
for the first time plus the existing neces- 

2. I should like to see recommended 
(61 ) 


that large chests of life belts be kept on the 
upper decks, for in a catastrophe like that of 
last Friday it was impossible for some people 
to go below to get life belts. They had 
neither the time nor the courage. We could 
have helped a lot and saved more if we had 
had more life belts at hand that we could 
have tied on to the passengers. 

3. These collapsible boats should be 
opened on the deck during each passage of 
the steamer, and it should be assured that 
the metal running gear is thoroughly greased 
and runs smoothly. There should be some 
oars in the boat, for had there been a sea on 
when this catastrophe happened, of what 
earthly use would this boat have been with- 
out an oar with which even to steer? Under 
the conditions in which we worked it was 
easy enough to get oars, but we never could 
have got them if it had been at all rough. 

The plans of the Lusitania here reproduced 
are from "Engineering" (London) in the issue 
for May 14th, 1915. 

I think they are the plans originally published 
in that magazine when the boat was first put into 
commission in 1907. The arrangement and num- 
ber of the lifeboats were changed a few years 
back and were different from those shown in the 
plan. On her last voyage there were eleven on 
each side, slung higher to allow space for the 
collapsible lifeboats that rested on the deck un- 
der the regular lifeboats. Also, this plan does not 
show the extra collapsible lifeboats that were 
nested out on the after deck. The launch that is 
indicated on the plan, I did not see. 





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N'f 5 



THE foregoing is the crude Narrative prac- 
tically verbatim as I sent it home to my 
people. My first thought was to rewrite it 
and embody it in the following, but I prefer 
to let it stand as I gave it to the typist in our 
London office, reciting the tale to her as the 
events, still vivid in my mind, passed men- 
tally before me. 

In this second part I have tried to round 
out the Narrative by adding details which 
would answer questions arising from read- 
ing Part One. 

On boarding the Lusitania on May 1 in 

New York I found the usual company of 

passengers and many friends to bid them 

"bon voyage." I was surprised that access 



to the steamer was allowed so freely. The 
two members of my family who accompanied 
me were allowed to pass aboard without 


rilRAVELLERS intending to em- 
A bark on the Atlantic voyage are 
reminded that a state of war exists 
between Germany and her allies and 
Great Britain and her allies; that 
the zone of war includes the waters 
adjacent to the British Isles; that, 
in accordance with formal notice 
given by the Imperial German Gov- 
ernment, vessels flying the flag of 
Great Britain, or of any of her allies, 
are liable to destruction hi those 
waters and that travellers sailing 
in the war zone on ships of Great 
Britain or her allies do so at their 
own risk. 

WASHINGTON, D. C., April 22, 1915. 

( 66) 


Naturally I saw the notice issued by the 
Imperial German Embassy, published in all 
of the New York papers of May 1. On the 
opposite page I reprint the whole notice issued 
by the Embassy in order to correct the errone- 
ous impression I find held by many people, 
that the Lusitania was specified in it. 

It is a coincidence that this notice ap- 
peared in some of the New York papers 
beside the advertisement of the proposed 
sailings of the Cunard Line. Like many 
other passengers I gave the notice no serious 
thought. No idea of cancelling my trip 
occurred to me. I did not sail with a feeling 
of defiance towards the Embassy, either for 
the notice or for any action that might follow; 
but I admit that I did not think any human 
being with a drop of red blood in his veins, 
called a man, could issue an order to sink a 
passenger steamer without at least giving the 
women and children a chance to get away. 


True, it was a ship of a belligerent nation and 
carried citizens of countries with which Ger- 
many was at war, but I could not believe 
their policy of "frightfulness" would be 
carried to such an extent as events after- 
wards proved. The steamer did have in 
her cargo some ammunition, but taking all 
things into consideration I did not believe 
an order would be given to torpedo this 
boat without warning, and without an op- 
portunity being given to passengers to take 
to the boats, and so possibly cause one of 
the greatest marine disasters of modern 
times. The order is now a proven fact in 

We had a pleasant crossing, smooth seas, 
with sunshine and very little fog. 

I enjoyed roaming about the boat ex- 
ceedingly, as I had never before taken pas- 
sage on one of the "greyhounds," although 
it was my twenty-third crossing. I always 


enjoy the voyage and prefer a smaller and 
slower boat; but this year I wanted to make 
my business trip as short as possible, and had 
the Lusitania gone through at her usual rate 
of speed and arrived at Liverpool as sched- 
uled, I could have taken up my work the 
following Saturday morning. 

As the days passed the passengers seemed 
to enjoy them more and more, and formed 
those acquaintances such as one does OR an 
ocean crossing. Each evening, in the smok- 
ing room, the pool for the following day's 
run was auctioned, and that always makes 
for informality and companionship. 

Thursday evening the us.ual concert was 
given and much enjoyed. 

Friday morning early there was some fog, 
but I arose at eight as usual and had my sea 
bath. As the horn was blowing and the 
weather was thick, I returned to my berth 
for a few hours' extra snooze. I instructed 

the steward that if he didn't hear from me by 
12 o'clock he was to call me, as that would 
give me ample time to get ready for lunch 
at one. 

At noon he came and told me that we had 
picked up Cape Clear and had put the clock 
one hour and forty minutes ahead to Green- 
wich time. I got up and dressed, and was on 
deck at about ten minutes to one for a short 
stroll before lunch. It was a beautiful day 
then, light wind, a smooth sea, and bright 
sunshine. I thought to myself that if a Ger- 
man submarine really meant business, she 
would have to wait weeks for a more ideal 
chance than the present weather conditions. 
With a flat, unbroken sea, such as that 
around us, the periscope of a submarine 
could certainly carry a long distance. On the 
port side was the good old Irish Coast, and 
it seemed to me that we were going up the 
old beaten track that ocean liners have taken 
( 70) 


for the last fifty years. I was surprised that 
we were following it, but I was more than 
surprised at the slow speed we were making. 
There was no use of one asking questions of 
the officers, for we all knew they were told 
to discreetly hold their tongues. 

I went down to lunch at one o'clock and 
finished shortly before two. 

The portholes along both sides of the 
dining saloon were open. I had special 
reason to notice this, as my seat was directly 
under an electric fan, and several times on 
the voyage when the portholes were open and 
the fan going the draught was so strong that 
I had been obliged to request the steward to 
shut off the fan. This was the case this 

My table companion was Lothrop With- 

ington. We had a jolly time together and 

made plans for seeing each other in London, 

as his rooms were near our London office. 

(71 ) 


Poor chap, I wish I had seen him after we 
were struck, that I might have given him a 
helping hand. 

After luncheon I left the saloon, went to 
my stateroom and then up on deck and joined 
the Hubbards on the port side. Immediately 
after the explosion the ship took a sharp 
list to the starboard and a decided pitch by 
the head. You could feel the two separate 
motions very distinctly. It seemed as if 
she were going down at once, but then she 
stopped suddenly as if the sea had met the 
water-tight bulkheads and she seemed to 
right herself and even raise her bow a little. 
This*gave me a feeling of security, and I 
at first thought she would stay afloat. As 
soon as the ship found herself I looked over 
the rail and made a mental note as to how 
far she had rolled out. 

From the moment we were struck no 
sense of fear or doubt entered my mind but 


that I could perfectly well save myself. If 
she did sink I could step into the water, and 
I was confident that I could paddle round 
for several hours until I was rescued. My 
experience had been such that a few hours 
more or less in the water made no difference 
to me, and I didn't care particularly whether 
it was a swim in the Irish Sea or Hull Bay. 

I spoke to the Hubbards, but when they 
showed no inclination to go to their cabin 
to get their life jackets I tapped Mr. Hub- 
bard on the shoulder to emphasize the fol- 
lowing remark, "If you don't care to come, 
stay here and I will get them for you." It 
did not take me many minutes to go to my 
cabin, get several life jackets, which I 
strung on my arm, take my small leather 
case which contained my business papers, 
and return to the spot where I had left the 
Hubbards. I wish with all my heart that 
they had waited until I came back. If only 


they had . . . ! But I must not write about 
the "ifs" of this catastrophe. They would 
in themselves make a book larger than the 
account of the disaster itself. 

I stood there a few moments hoping the 
Hubbards would return. I put on to women 
all but two of the life jackets, for these I felt 
I should keep for a few moments to see if my 
friends returned. 

Passengers were already crowding on the 
deck, running back and forth, and as I 
walked aft I saw no officer taking charge of 
the lowering of any one lifeboat, but there 
were attempts being made by the crew to 
lower two or three of the boats. As early 
as this in the catastrophe there was con- 
fusion, and nothing seemed to be done with 
usual ship's discipline. 

If the passengers, when they first came on 
deck, had found that the officer and the crew 
of each lifeboat were at their station, waiting 
( 74 ) 


or taking orders from the bridge, it would 
have inspired confidence and saved the 
immediate confusion; but there was no such 

I had walked fore and aft on the deck 
once or twice, stopping often to help people 
put on their life jackets correctly, when 
Captain Turner gave his order not to lower 
the boats. 

So insistent was Captain Turner that this 
order should be carried out that he sent 
Captain Anderson, who was on the bridge 
at the tune, down along the port side, where 
I was standing, to enforce it. 

As soon as Captain Turner gave this or- 
der, the crew, who were on the deck above 
lowering the boats, immediately took a 
couple of turns around the cleats and natur- 
ally left for parts unknown; at least I did 
not see them go back to their posts. 

Then Captain Turner went down to the 
( 75 ) 


starboard end of the bridge, and I could 
hear him call out to clear away and lower the 
boats, meaning those on that side. To me 
these two orders have always seemed most 

The incident that stands out most clearly 
in my mind up to this time is my meeting 
an Italian family, consisting of an aged 
woman, probably the grandmother, the 
mother, and her three children. They be- 
seeched me in their native tongue, but not 
a word could I understand. They were 
third cabin passengers and had found their 
way to deck B in remarkably quick time. 

By this time I had given up hope of seeing 
the Hubbards again, so I put the two re- 
maining life jackets on the two older women 
and got another for the oldest child. They 
were all calm and sat down on one of the 
collapsible lifeboats, quietly awaiting in- 
structions as to what to do next. As I look 


back on that family sitting there on the 
deck it is one of the most pathetic things I 
remember. One felt so helpless. The boats 
were not being lowered, and there was abso- 
lutely nothing you could do to save a family 
like this. 

It was then I looked over the side and 
made up my mind that the steamer, rolling 
out at the angle which she had reached, with 
the bow under water, could not float much 
longer, so I started on my second trip to 
my stateroom. 

I tried to go down by the main compan- 
ion-way, but it was full of people making 
their way up. It was not so crowded but 
that I could have forced my way through, 
but to have done so would only have added 
to the confusion already paramount, so I 
went down by the for'ard companion-way. 

On my way back from my stateroom I 
made up my mind that the boat was going 


to sink. I had thought so before, but I was 
confident of it after that second trip down. 
The part of the boat where my stateroom 
was located was in darkness. The portholes 
at the bottom of the cross passages which I 
passed were open, and naturally very little 
light came through them, as they were only 
a few feet from the water and the list of the 
steamer had shut out the direct daylight 
so there was only the reflection from the 

On my return, I did not at first go up the 
f or'ard companion-way. I went along the pas- 
sage to the mam companion-way, as I knew 
I could be of assistance in helping someone 
up the stairs. By that time there was a jam. 
Many people found difficulty in climbing the 
sloping stairs, and so I spoke to several and 
led them back along the passage I had just 
come through and up the for'ard companion- 
way. That at least got them on deck, even 


though I could not do anything for them 
after that. 

Without thinking, I made my way back 
to the spot where I was standing with the 
Hubbards when the explosion occurred. 
It was curious that I kept coming back to 
this part of the deck. I must have returned 
there more than a hah* dozen times, led back 
instinctively, I suppose, by the hope that I 
might find my friends. 

It was at this spot that I looked over 
the side when she was first struck, and 
where I stood each time I wanted to see 
how far she had rolled out. A glance for'ard 
showed me how far she had sunk by the 

As I looked up and down the deck wild 
confusion had broken loose. Frantic ef- 
forts were at last being made to lower the 
lifeboats, but as they had been originally 
swung clear of the steamer, the acute list 
( 79) 


which she had now taken to starboard caused 
many of the davits on the port side to swing 
inboard so far, that it was humanly impossi- 
ble to push out the boats clear of the edge 
of the deck. There was nothing more one 
could do on the port side to help on, so I 
stepped inside of the main entrance, and slid 
across to the starboard side. 

As I came out I noticed a lifeboat just 
getting away. It was one that had swung 
on the davits opposite the main entrance. 
The water was then almost flush with the 
scuppers of deck B. I tried to walk aft on 
the starboard side, but there was such infi- 
nite confusion that I saw I could be of no 
help. Most of the passengers had gone to 
that side, and as the bow settled and the 
water rose on the deck they naturally 
crowded aft, up to the higher part of the 
deck. All were doing the best they could, 

but there was no discipline or order. 


Personally I didn't care to get into a life- 
boat. I was perfectly willing to take my 
chance in the water, but as I returned to 
the for'ard part of the deck I saw a sight 
that simply demanded action on my part. 

I found myself opposite the stern of a boat, 
into which had climbed about thirty-five 
people, principally women and children. 
The for'ard davit was about a foot from 
the bow, and at the rate the Lusitania was 
going down it meant but a few moments 
before the bow of the boat would be caught 
by the davit, and this whole boatload would 
be taken down, or at least thrown violently 
into the water. 

I judge that this particular boat in the first 
rush had been lowered many feet to the 
water and as the steamer sank she floated, 
and so the distance between the lifeboat 
and the davits gradually shortened. The 
slack of the ropes had to fall somewhere and 
(81 ) 


as the ropes fouled on themselves in the bow 
and the stern of the boat, it convinces me 
that there was no way on the steamer. 

Certainly one ought to make the attempt 
to clear this boat and not let those women 
and children be drowned without an effort 
to save them. Someone was working on the 
bow ropes, so I climbed into the stem and 
threw clear my end, but before I had time 
to cast off the block it was done for me by a 
seaman who had stepped into the boat ap- 
parently at the same moment that I had. 
My next thought was of the for'ard ropes. 
I looked and saw someone struggling to 
clear them. As I have written, I think he 
was a steward, cutting at them with a knife. 
I yelled to him to take the axe. He looked 
around a moment and said there was none. 
I looked in my end and found none. Then 
I stepped up on the seat, planning to go 

for'ard to see if I could help. As I straight- 


ened up to get my balance, my back came 
in contact with the davit hanging over 
the after end. The blow knocked me down 
into the bottom of the boat. Then I tried 
again, looking out for the davit and step- 
ping from one seat to the next. I couldn't 
avoid the oars, of which there seemed an 
infinite number. I stepped on one which 
rolled over. Again I slipped to the bottom 
of the boat. When I got up and looked 
for'ard I saw it was too late to make a 
further attempt, for the end of the davit 
had gripped the bow of the boat and had 
just begun to press it under. 

I turned to the people and told them to 
jump. It was their only chance. I begged 
them to! One or two men did, and finally 
two women who had on life jackets. When 
I saw them go I felt that I could be of use to 
them, so I stepped over and pushed them 
ahead of me as I swam. A short distance 


out I found a third woman. They all three 
kept calm, and I was able to get them to put 
their hands on each others' shoulders, two 
hi front and one behind. 

I stopped swimming for a moment, telling 
them to wait, for I wished to turn around 
and see how near the steamer was to her 
final plunge. I felt that there would be 
considerable suction, and I wanted to try 
and keep the three women out of it. 

The steamer had an acute list to starboard, 
so as I looked back I could clearly see the 
people on deck B, clinging to the rail that 
ran along the side of the house. It was im- 
possible to stand on the deck unless one had 
hold of some stationary object. People were 
clinging to one another, so that it seemed as 
if they were standing three or four abreast by 
the rail. As the steamer sank by the head 
and the water rose higher up the deck, those 

in front were obliged to release their hold. 
(84 ) 


It was a terrifying sight for the people 
back of them, but there were no hysterical 
shrieks. The men, women, and children on 
that steamer met their end like heroes, 
every one of them. 

It was at this point that the aerial caught 
me and took me down. I couldn't imagine 
what was landing on me out of the sky. I 
wouldn't have been as much surprised if the 
submarine had risen and I had found myself 
on her, but to get a bolt from the blue did 
surprise me. I shook this off my head and so 
got a glimpse of what it was that struck me. 
I saw it was one of the aerials, but fortunately 
it was the outside one, so I knew the other 
was between me and the steamer. As the 
three women were out beyond me they were 
safe from both aerials. This wire took me rap- 
idly under, but I rose before the steamer sank. 

As she went under the sea I was not con- 
scious of hearing cries; rather it was a long, 
(85 ) 


lingering moan that rose, and which lasted 
for many moments after she disappeared. 
They who were lost seemed to be calling from 
the very depths. 

I kept my eyes on the steamer until she 
went out of sight. Then the deluge of 
wreckage was upon us. That separated me 
from the women, and I am not confident that 
I got them afterwards into my boat, but I 
am quite sure that they must have been 
saved. They had every chance. 

Just before the steamer sank she seemed to 
right herself and go down on quite an even 
keel. She settled by the stern, and that is 
another reason that convinces me that if 
her portholes had been closed she might 
have stayed afloat after her bow struck 

Much to my surprise there was only slight 
suction. There were explosions out of the 

funnels as the cold water mixed with the 


steam and that added to the horror of the 
disaster. The mass of wreckage was tremen- 
dous. Aside from the people brought out with 
it, there were deck chairs, oars, boxes, and I 
can't remember what. I simply know that 
one moment one was jammed between large 
objects, and the next moment one was under 
the water. There were many people around 
you who needed assistance, but all one could 
do was to push an oar or box or a piece of 
wreckage to each to grab. A few moments 
after the first rush was over I looked around 
to see if I could find a boat. A few yards 
away I saw a collapsible lifeboat floating 
peacefully around, right side up. I made 
good time crossing the intervening space 
and was the first man on that boat. A 

sailor immediately followed, then G , 

and we three got to work opening it up. 

When we got the canvas covering off and 
saw no oars in that boat I was, to say the 


least, disgusted with any Board of Trade or 
committee of men who would pass a boat 
that was worthy to be called one, without 
deeming it necessary to have her fitted with 
oars. If there had been a sea on we should 
have been helpless. 

After we got the boat manned and went 
back into the wreckage it was simply awful. 
We took those whom we could help, but there 
were many, many past human assistance. 
We loaded our little boat to the full limit of its 
capacity and started for the fishing smack. 

As we left with our boatload, I looked 
around for other boats. There were al- 
ready two lifeboats between us and the 
fishing smack; one halfway there and the 
other about quarter of the way, and there 
was also one headed toward Kinsale. There 
was a fourth headed west, apparently row- 
ing for a streak of smoke one could see on 
the horizon. There must have been at least 

two lifeboats that stayed at the scene of the 
wreck doing their utmost. 

When we reached the fishing smack the 
first two lifeboats I have mentioned, had 
already arrived and had put then* human 
freight aboard. One, in charge of a boat- 
swain, with four of the ship's regular crew 
rowing, was starting back. 

I can't understand why these two life- 
boats got away so quickly from the scene of 
the disaster. It seems to me that they should 
have stayed right there and taken in more 
people. There were only about 50 people 
on the fishing smack, and so that was all the 
two regular lifeboats brought down. They 
could have put 75 or 80 people in each one 
of those boats in perfect safety, the sea was so 
smooth. There were several remaining hours 
of daylight in which they could have been 
picked up, so there was no need to hurry 
away. Aside from the people they could 


have taken into the boat, they could have 
been of much assistance in letting others 
cling to the sides. There are life lines for 
just that purpose. 

Nearly all of the people that got aboard the 
fishing smack before us were dry, as these 
two boats had cleared before the steamer 
sank. All of the people on my boat had been 
fished out of the ocean. 

About one half an hour after we were 
aboard the fishing smack another collapsible 
boat came alongside and we took these peo- 
ple on board. 

There were a father and mother and a 
little year-old baby on the fishing smack. 
They were fortunate in getting away in one 
of the lifeboats, and the little chap was one 
of the few babies who was saved. I have 
seen it stated that of about 150 children 
aboard, only about 25 were saved. I can 

believe that from what I saw when we 


were back in the wreckage pulling out 

The trip up on the Flying Fish was un- 
eventful. Many got quite dried off in the 
engine room and nearly all regained much 
of their normal composure. There were com- 
paratively few who were in dire distress. 

The illustration opposite this page shows 
the lifeboats as I found them in the slip be- 
side the Cunard wharf on Saturday morning. 
I called the attention of the newspaper men 
who had cameras to these boats, and I was 
glad to see them take the picture. If they 
hadn't done so I should have had it done, 
for to me this is a very pretty piece of evi- 
dence. The picture reproduced here is taken 
from one of the London dailies. 

I think it would be well for the Cu- 
nard Line to explain how lifeboats that 
are supposed to hold people, should be 
brought into port carrying so much dunnage. 

Look at the oars and sails that were left in 
these boats, occupying space that could have 
been better used for carrying human freight! 
I climbed through each one of these boats, 
and they all showed evidence of having 
been used by survivors. You will notice 
that some of the boats are stripped of all 
extra fittings, and these probably carried 
their proper quota of human freight. There 
are but five of the boats in this picture; the 
sixth was in another slip. 

Evidence has been given that the first 
torpedo crippled the engines so that it was 
impossible to reverse the screws and bring 
the steamer to a stop or slow her down to a 
point where the captain judged it safe to 
lower the boats. All right, if that is the opin- 
ion of an experienced seaman I shall not 
dispute it; but I should like to have a naval 
engineer estimate how much way there could 
have been on the steamer, say ten minutes 


after she was struck, even if the engine room 
wasn't able to reverse the screws and bring 
her to a stop. 

The Lusitania was of 32,000 tons dis- 
placement. She was going through the water 
at about 17 knots an hour. If you sud- 
denly shut off that propulsion, giving her a 
list to starboard and a rapid settling by the 
head, I can't believe she would be ranging 
ahead .Tery fast after the first 10 or 12 




ONE who has read this Narrative cannot 
help but being interested in the following ac- 
count, taken from the "Frankfurter Zeitung" 
of Sunday, May 9, 1915, issued two days 
after the tragedy. 

I saw several German papers of about that 
date, but I selected this as a representative 
one. This article is much saner than others 
I saw, and I feel gives a fairer idea of what 
the German press published at that time. 

I print the German text, that those who 
can read it may judge for themselves, and 
on the opposite page I have given the 
English translation. 

For the transposition of the original Ger- 
man into Roman characters and the trans- 
lation into English, I am indebted to my 


friend Ernest F. Langley, Professor of Ro- 
mance Languages at the Massachusetts In- 
stitute of Technology. 

If one refers to the reproduction of the 
plan of the ship, he will see the places indi- 
cated where the twelve guns were to have 
been mounted had the British Government 
ever taken the Lusitania for an "auxiliary 
cruiser." While this plan was originally pub- 
lished when the Lusitania was first launched 
in 1906, it was used again at this time with 
the position of the guns still showing. 

( 98) 




Sonntag, 9 Mai 1915. Was haben wir 
getan? Ein deutsches Kriegsscliiff hat an 
der Kiiste Irlands die "Lusitania" vernich- 
tet. Ein gewaltiger Wert, der gegen uns auf 
der Wagschale des Feindes lag, ist zerstort. 
Viele Millionen an materiellem Gut sind ver- 
nichtet, und ein unermessbarer Besitz an 
moralischer Kraft und an GefiiHswert eines 
Volkes, dessen ganzes Leben auf das Bliihen 
seiner Schiffahrt und seines Handels einge- 
stellt ist, sank mit dem stolzen Schiff zu 
Grunde. Dieses Seevolk ist in seinem Hei- 
ligsten getroffen worden. Alle Massregeln 
seiner Vorsicht waren umsonst. Die deut- 
sche Waffe hat die Schutzwehr durchschnit- 
ten. England sieht sich an dieser Stelle 
nackt und hilflos und ausserstande, mit dem 
( 100 ) 

Sunday, May 9, 1915. What have we 
done? A German war vessel has sunk the 
Lusitania off the coast of Ireland. A mighty 
asset which lay on the enemy's side of the 
scale is destroyed. Property to the value of 
many millions is annihilated, and an im- 
measurable store of moral power and self- 
confidence of a people whose whole life is 
centered in the prosperity of its shipping 
and commerce sank to the bottom with the 
proud vessel. This maritime nation has been 
stricken in its Holy of Holies. All measures 
dictated by its prudence were in vain. Ger- 
many's weapon has cut through its armor. 
England sees herself naked and helpless at 
this spot and unable to keep pace with her 
German opponent. Nothing of hypocrisy or 
( 101 ) 


deutschen Gegner Schritt zu halten. Nichts 
von Heuchelei und Kramergeist ! Das Gef iihl 
ist echt. Ohnmachtige Wut! Und das ist 
es eben, woher uns die Gefahr kam, das ist 
im letzten Ende auch der Grund, der uns den 
Krieg gebracht hat: England, 1 das Volk zur 
See, die Weltmacht, ist eingeholt von uns 
Jiingeren, und es gibt Dinge, durch die wir 
ihm vorangehen. Und weil dies so ist, weil 
alles schmahliche Verleumden nichts anderes 
als kraftlose Schlage zur Abwehr sind, 
Kriegswaffen Englands, nicht von anderer 
Art als das sinnlose Einsperren der Zivilge-. 
fangenen, als die Vergeltungswut gegen die 
gefangenen U-Bootsleute darum ist uns 
dies alles so veraehtlich und reizt den Zorn 
unseres Volkes. 

Die "Lusitania" trug Passagiere! Wir 
batten es wahrhaftig unendlich lieber ge- 

1 Italics are used in the above text where the original Ger- 
man type emphasizes by spacing. 

( 102 ) 


shopkeeper-spirit about it! The feeling is 
genuine. Impotent rage ! And that was the 
very thing which caused our danger, and, 
in the last analysis, that also was the reason 
why war was brought upon us. England, 1 
the nation of sailors, the world power, is 
overtaken by us juniors, and things exist 
which enable us to outstrip her. And be- 
cause this is so, because all her despicable 
calumny is nothing else than impotent blows 
to defend herself, typical English weapons, 
exactly on a par with the senseless confine- 
ment of civilians and the fierce reprisals upon, 
the captured submarine crews because this 
is so, the whole matter is contemptible in 
our eyes and provokes the anger of our 

The Lusitania carried passengers! In 
truth we should have been infinitely better 

1 Italics are used in the translations where the original 
German text emphasizes by spacing, 

( 103 ) 


sehen, wenn das Schiff, das schon seit vielen 
Monaten dem Feind von Nutzen ist und uns 
Schaden bringt, hatte vernichtet werden 
kb'nnen, ohne dass diese Katastrophe fiir 
seine Fahrgaste hatte kommen miissen. 
Aber miissen wir uns, denen der Feind das 
Messer in die Kehle stossen will, wir, deren 
Bezwingung durch den Hunger und den 
Mangel an Kriegsgerat so ziemlich alle Welt 
mit Ruhe als ein unvermeidliches Schick- 
sal mitansehen wiirde, miissen wir uns nicht 
mit aller Kraft und mit alien Mitteln, die 
der deutsche Geist erfinden kann und die 
die Ehre des deutschen Volkes als achtbare 
Waff en anerkennt, gegen diese lurch tbare 
Gefahr wehren, die uns noch immer bedroht? 
Haben nicht gerade sie den Kampf bis aufs 
Messer gepredigt und durch ihre Blockade 
eroffnet, die jetzt zetern, weil die deutschen 
Waff en die besseren sind? Oder haben jene 
ein Recht, uns anzuklagen, die ihre Ange- 
( 104 ) 


pleased if the ship, which for many months 
past has been of aid to the enemy and has 
done us harm, could have been destroyed 
without the necessity of this catastrophe be- 
falling its passengers. But must we not, we 
whose throat the enemy is seeking to cut, we 
whose defeat by hunger and by lack of war 
material nearly every one would witness 
complacently as an unavoidable fate, must 
we not defend ourselves from this dreadful 
danger, which still threatens us, with all our 
might and with all the means that the Ger- 
man spirit can invent and which the honor 
of the German people recognizes as legitimate 
weapons? Were not those who now raise 
outcries because the German weapons are 
better than their own the very ones who pro- 
claimed war to the knife and opened it with 
their blockade? Or have they a right to 
accuse us, those who allowed their friends 
and relatives to entrust themselves to a ship 
( 105 ) 


horigen sich einem Schiff anvertrauen liessen, 
dessen Vernichtung mit aller Klarheit zuvor 
angekiindigt war? Auf ein Schiff, das wie 
ein Kreuzer, starker als irgend ein deutscher 
geschiitzter Kreuzer, mit zwolf 15 Zenti- 
meter-Geschiitzen ausgeriistet war? Sie ha- 
ben uns, als wir warnten, verspottet. Sie 
mogen sich an jene wenden, die das Verbre- 
chen begangen haben, zur Fahrt auf einem 
Kriegsschiff Fahrgaste zu laden. 

Berlin, 8. Mai (Priv.-Tel. Ctr. Bin.). Der 
Eindruck, den die Vernichtung der" Lusitania " 
macht, wird weit iiber Deutschlands und 
Englands Grenzen hinausreichen, und man 
kann ohne weiteres annehmen, dass sich auch 
neutrale Stimmen finden werden, die eifernd 
den Untergang zahlreicher Passagiere be- 
klagen. Gewiss, jedes Menschenleben ist 
wertvoll und sein Verlust bedauerlich, 
aber an den Massnahmen und Kampf- 
formen dieses Weltkrieges gemessen, an den 
(~106 ) 


whose destruction was announced with per- 
fect clearness in advance, to a ship equipped 
like a cruiser, more powerfully than any 
German protected cruiser, with twelve 15 
centimeter guns? They mocked at us when 
we gave warning. Let them turn to those 
who committed the crime of allowing pas- 
sengers to travel on a war vessel. 

Berlin, May 8. The impression created 
by the sinking of the Lusitania will extend 
far beyond the borders of Germany and Eng- 
land, and we may at once assume that neutral 
voices also will arise to deeply deplore the 
loss of a large number of passengers. Every 
human life is, of course, valuable, and its 
loss deplorable, but, measured by the 
methods of this world war, by the methods 
introduced by our enemies, forcing us to re- 
taliatory measures in self-defence, the death 
of non-combatants is a matter of no conse- 
quence. The standards observed among 
( 107 ) 


Formen, die unsere Feinde eingefiihrt und 
durch sie uns zur Gegenwehr gezwungen 
haben, kommt es auf den Tod von Nicht- 
kampfern nicht mehr an. Die Massstabe, 
die unter zivilisierten Volkern im Frieden 
galten, sind zerstort worden, und wer uns 
mil den Opfern der "Lusitania" kommt, der 
soil sich erst legitimieren und uns die Frage 
beantworten, ob er gegeifert und gejammert 
hat, als russische Heere auf dem Boden Ost- 
preussens gebrannt, gemordet und geschdndet 
haben, kaltbliitig und bewusst gegen eine 
friedlicheBevolkerung, gegen Manner, Frauen 
und Kinder. Das war so gutes Blut, wie 
nur irgend eines, das in englischen Schiffen 
auf dem Wasser schwimmt. Und wer da 
klagt und Zweifel hegt an der Berechtigung 
unserer Kampfesfiihrung, den fragen wir, 
wie er tiber Englands Aushungerungskrieg 
gegen Deutschland denkt, und ob er uns viel- 
leicht zumutet, uns wehrlos aushungern zu 
( 108 ) 


civilized nations in times of peace have been 
destroyed, and any one reproaching us for 
the lives sacrificed on the Lusitania should 
first justify himself and answer for us 
the question whether he frothed and 
fumed when Russian armies on East 
Prussian soil coolly and deliberately burned, 
murdered and committed outrage upon a 
peaceful population, men, women and 
children? That blood was as good as any 
sailing on the ocean in English ships. And 
if anyone complains and feels doubts about 
the justification of our war methods, we shall 
ask him what he thinks about England's 
war of starvation against Germany, and 
whether he imagines perhaps that it is our 
purpose to allow ourselves to be starved to 
submission without acting in self-defence? 
And we shall also ask him what he thinks 
about the shipment of thousands of millions 
worth of arms and munitions from America, 
( 109 ) 


lassen. Und den fragen wir, wie er iiber die 
Milliardenlieferungen von Waff en und Muni- 
tion aus Amerika denkt, diese Mithilfe, 
durch die allein den Englandern und Fran- 
zosen seit Monaten uberhaupt die Fort- 
fiihrung des Krieges ermoglicht worden ist. 
Der nun versenkte Riesendampfer hat er- 
wiesenermassen grosse Mengen von Kriegs- 
material und Munition an Bord gehabt. Er 
war ausserdem ein feindliches Kriegsschiff, 
denn er war stark armiert. Er war ein Hilfs- 
Jcreuzer. Und zum Dritten fallt ins Gewicht: 
keine Warnung ist unterblieben, die geeignet 
war, zu verhindern, dass Passagiere die ge- 
wagte Fahrt auf diesem Schiffe unternahmen. 
Unser Botschafter in Washington hat in 
amerikanischen Blattern offiziell vor dieser 
Fahrt gewarnt. Nur Spott und Hohn in der 
angesehensten englischen Presse ist die Ant- 
wort gewesen. Die Besitzer der "Lusi- 
tania" haben vielleicht geglaubt, dass diese 
( HO) 


an assistance by which alone, generally 
speaking, during the past months, the con- 
tinued participation in the war has been 
made possible for the English and French. 
The huge steamer now at the bottom of the 
ocean had, as has been proved, a great 
quantity of war material and munitions on 
board. She was moreover an enemy's war 
vessel, for she was heavily armed. She was 
an auxiliary cruiser. And thirdly it must be 
considered that no warning calculated to 
prevent passengers undertaking the perilous 
voyage on this vessel was neglected. Our 
ambassador at Washington gave official 
warning about this voyage in the American 
newspapers. Nothing but mockery and 
scorn was the answer in the most highly 
respected English press. The owners of the 
Lusitania believed, perhaps, that these pas- 
sengers would form a protection for the 

contraband and the lucrative shipment of 
( 111 ) 


Passagiere ein Schutz fiir die Kontrebande, 
fur die lohnende Waffenlieferung, die an 
ihrem Bord waren, bilden wiirden. Die 
"Deutsche Tageszeitung" hat recht, wenn 
sie sagt: "Die an Bord der 'Lusitania* un- 
tergegangenen Passagiere sind, wenn man 
das Ding beim rechten Namen nennen will, 
ein Opfer grossbritannischer Frivolitat und 


arms which were on board. The Deutsche 
Tageszeitung is right in saying: "The pas- 
sengers who went down with the Lusitania 
are, if we wish to call things by their right 
names, a sacrifice to Great Britain's frivolity 
and avarice." 



I WROTE parts I and II before reading a 
word of the Official Inquiry held by Lord 
Mersey and his Assessors, or even the 
meagre newspaper accounts of the investiga- 
tion that were published in the London 
papers while I was there. I wished to write 
with an open mind and did not want to 
know a word of the Court's Findings until 
I had finished mine. 

I held my own little Court of Inquiry, 
with my own eyes and brain offering the 
evidence. My findings as written in the 
first two parts are as diametrically opposite 
from those of Lord Mersey's Court as they 
well could be. I have printed mine in full 
and so I now do the same to his. 

( 117) 


REPORT of a Formal Investigation into the 
circumstances attending the foundering on 
the 7th of May, 1915, of the British 
Steamship "Lusitania" of Liverpool, 
after being torpedoed off the Old Head 
of Kinsale, Ireland. 


THE Court, having carefully enquired into 
the circumstances of the above mentioned 
disaster, finds, that the loss of the said ship 
and lives was due to damage caused to the 
said ship by torpedoes fired by a submarine 
of German nationality whereby the ship 

In the opinion of the Court the act was 
done not merely with the intention of sink- 
ing the ship, but also with the intention of 
destroying the lives of the people on board. 

Dated this seventeenth day of July, 1915. 

Wreck Commissioner. 

We concur in the above Report, 


_. _ Assessors. 

( 121 ) 



On the 18th of May, 1915, the Board of 
Trade required that a Formal Investigation 
of the circumstances attending the loss of 
the " Lusitania " should be held, and the 
Court accordingly commenced to sit on the 
15th of June. 

There were six sittings, some of which 
were public and some of which were in 
camera. Thirty-six witnesses were exam- 
ined, and a number of documents were 


The "Lusitania " was a Turbine steamship 
built by John Brown & Co., of Clydebank, 
in 1907, for the Cunard Steamship Company. 
She was built under Admiralty Survey and 
in accordance with Admiralty requirements, 
and was classed 100 A.I. at Lloyd's. Her 
length was 755 feet, her beam 88 feet, and her 


depth 60 feet 4 in. Her tonnage was 30,395 
gross and 12,611 net. Her engines were of 
68,000 h. p. and her speed 24^/2 to 25 knots. 
She had 23 double-ended and two single- 
ended boilers situated in four boiler-rooms. 

The ship was divided transversely by 
eleven principal bulkheads into twelve sec- 

The two forward bulkheads were collision 
bulkheads without doors. The remaining 
bulkheads had watertight doors cut in them 
which were closed by hand. In places where 
it was necessary to have the doors open for 
working the ship they could be closed by 
hydraulic pressure from the bridge. A longi- 
tudinal bulkhead separated the side coal 
bunkers from the boiler-room and engine- 
rooms on each side of the ship. 

The "Lusitania" was a passenger as well as 
an emigrant ship as defined by the Merchant 
Shipping Acts. She fulfilled all the require- 
( 123 ) 


ments of the law in this connection and had 
obtained all necessary certificates. 

She had accommodation on board for 
3,000 persons (including the crew). 

The Life-Boats and Life-Saving Appliances 

The ship was provided with boat accom- 
modation for 2,605 persons. The number 
of persons on board on the voyage in ques- 
tion was 1,959. 

The number of boats was 48. Twenty-two 
of these were ordinary life-boats hanging from 
davits eleven on each side of the boat deck. 
These had a total carrying capacity of 1,323. 
The remainder (26) were collapsible boats, 
with a total carrying capacity of 1,282. 
Eighteen of these collapsible boats were 
stowed under eighteen of the life-boats. 
The remaining eight were stowed four on 
each side of the ship abaft the life-boats. 

In addition the ship was provided with 
( 124 ) 


2,325 life-jackets (125 of which were for 
children) and 35 life-buoys. All these were 
conveniently distributed on board. 

The boats, the life-jackets and the life- 
buoys were inspected at Liverpool on the 
17th of March, 1915, by the resident Board of 
Trade Surveyor, and again on the 15th of 
April, 1915, by the Board of Trade Emigra- 
tion Officer. Both these gentlemen were 
called before me and satisfied me that the 
condition of the different appliances was hi 
every way satisfactory. 

The boats were also examined by the 
ship's carpenter at New York on the com- 
mencement of the homeward voyage on the 
1st of May and found to be in good order. 

The Captain, the Officers and the Crew 

The Captain of the ship, Mr. William 
Thomas Turner, had been in the service of 
the Cunard Company since 1883. He had 
( 125 ) 


occupied the position of Commander since 
1903, and had held an Extra Master's Cer- 
tificate since 1907. He was called before me 
and gave his evidence truthfully and well. 
The " Lusitania " carried an additional Captain 
named Anderson, whose duty it was to assist 
in the care and navigation of the ship. He 
was unfortunately drowned when the ship 
went down, and I can only judge of his 
capacity, by the accounts given to me of the 
work he did. Several of the officers gave their 
evidence before me and gave it well. I am 
quite satisfied that the two Captains and the 
officers were competent men, and that they 
did then* duty. Captain Turner remained on 
the bridge till he was swept into the sea and 
Captain Anderson was working on the deck 
until he went overboard and was drowned. 

It appears that since the commencement 
of the war the Cunard Company has lost all 
its Royal Naval Reserve and Fleet Reserve 
( 126 ) 


men, and the managers have had to take on 
the best men they could get and to train 
them as well as might be in the time at their 
disposal. In connection with this training 
prizes have been given by the Company to 
induce the crews to make themselves pro- 
ficient in handling the boats, and the efforts 
in this direction seem to have been successful 
in the case of the " Lusitania's " crew. Mr. 
Arthur Jones, the First Officer, described the 
crew on this voyage as well able to handle 
the boats, and testified to their carrying out 
the orders given to them in a capable man- 
ner. One of the crew, Leslie N. Morton, 
who at the time the ship was torpedoed was 
an extra look-out on the starboard side of 
the forecastle head, deserves a special word 
of commendation. He had been shipped in 
New York. He was only 18 years of age, 
but he seems to have exhibited great courage, 

self-possession and resource. He was the 
( 127 ) 


first to observe the approach of the two tor- 
pedoes, and before they touched the ship he 
had reported them to the bridge by means 
of the megaphone, calling out "Torpedoes 
coming on the starboard side." When the 
torpoedoes struck the ship, Morton was 
knocked off his feet, but, recovering him- 
self quickly, he went at once to the boats on 
the starboard side and assisted in filling and 
lowering several of them. Having done all 
that could be done on board, he had, as he 
expresses it, "to swim for it." In the water 
he managed to get hold of a floating col- 
lapsible life-boat and, with the assistance of 
another member of the crew named Parry, 
he ripped the canvas cover off it, boarded it, 
and succeeded in drawing into it fifty or 
sixty passengers. He and Parry rowed the 
life-boat some miles to a fishing smack, and, 
having put the rescued passengers on board 
the smack, they re-entered the life-boat and 
( 128 ) 


succeeded in rescuing twenty or thirty more 
people. This boy, with his mate Parry, was 
instrumental in saving nearly one hundred 
lives. He has cause for being proud of the 
work he did. Morton had a good opportunity 
of judging how the crew performed their 
duties in the short time which elapsed be- 
tween the explosion of the torpedoes and the 
foundering of the ship. He saw the crew 
helping the women and children into the 
boats; he saw them distributing life-belts to 
the passengers. He heard the officers giving 
orders and he observed that the crew were 
obeying the orders properly. 

Some of the passengers were called, and 
they confirm this evidence. They speak in 
terms of the highest praise of the exertions 
made by the crew. 

No doubt there were mishaps in handling 
the ropes of the boats and in other such 
matters, but there was, in my opinion, no 
( 129 ) 


incompetence or neglect, and I am satisfied 
that the crew behaved well throughout, and 
worked with skill and judgment. Many more 
than half their number lost their lives. 

The total crew consisted of 702, made up 
of 77 in the Deck Department, 314 in the 
Engineering Department, 306 in the Stew- 
ards' Department and of 5 musicians. Of 
these, 677 were males and 25 were females. 
Of the males, 397 were lost, and of the females, 
16, making the total number lost, 413. Of 
the males 280 were saved, and of the females, 
9, making the total number saved, 289. 

I find that the conduct of the masters, the 
officers and the crew was satisfactory. They 
did their best in difficult and perilous cir- 
cumstances and their best was good. 

The Passengers. 
The number of passengers on board the 

" Lusitania " when she sailed was 1,257, con- 
( 130 ) 


sisting of 290 saloon, 600 second-cabin, and 
367 third-cabin passengers. 

Of these, 944 were British and Canadian, 
159 were American, and the remainder were 
of seventeen other nationalities. Of the 
British and Canadian 584 perished. Of 
the American 124 perished, and of the 
remainder 77 perished. The total number 
lost was 785, and the total number saved 
was 472. 

The 1,257 passengers were made up of 
688 adult males, 440 adult females, 51 
male children, 39 female children, and 39 
infants. Of the 688 adult males, 421 were 
lost and 267 were saved. Of the 440 adult 
females, 270 were lost and 170 were saved. 
Of the 51 male children, 33 were lost and 18 
were saved. Of the 39 female children, 26 
were lost and 13 were saved. Of the 39 
infants, 35 were lost and 4 were saved. 

Many of the women and children among 
( 131 ) 


those lost died from exhaustion after immer- 
sion in the water. 

I can speak very well of the conduct of the 
passengers after the striking of the ship. 
There was little or no panic at first, although 
later on, when the steerage passengers came 
on to the boat deck in what one witness 
described as "a swarm," there appears to 
have been something approaching a panic. 

Some of the passengers attempted to assist 
in launching the boats and, in my opinion, 
did more harm than good. It is, however, 
quite impossible to impute any blame to 
them. They were all working for the best. 

The Cargo 

The cargo was a general cargo of the or- 
dinary kind, but part of it consisted of a 
number of cases of cartridges (about 5,000). 
This ammunition was entered in the manifest. 

It was stowed well forward in the ship on 
( 132 ) 


the orlop and lower decks and about 50 
yards away from where the torpedoes struck 
the ship. There was no other explosive on 

The Ship Unarmed 

It has been said by the German Govern- 
ment that the " Lusitania" was equipped with 
masked guns, that she was supplied with 
trained gunners, with special ammunition, 
that she was transporting Canadian troops, 
and that she was violating the laws of the 
United States. These statements are un- 
true; they are nothing but baseless inven- 
tions, and they serve only to condemn the 
persons who make use of them. The steamer 
carried no masked guns nor trained gunners, 
or special ammunition, nor was she trans- 
porting troops, or violating any laws of the 
United States. 



The Departure from New York 

The "Lusitania" left New York at noon on 
the 1st of May, 1915. I am told that before 
she sailed notices were published in New 
York by the German authorities that the 
ship would be attacked by German sub- 
marines, and people were warned not to take 
passage in her. I mention this matter not as 
affecting the present enquiry but because I 
believe it is relied upon as excusing hi some 
way the subsequent killing of the passengers 
and crew on board the ship. In my view, so 
far from affording any excuse the threats 
serve only to aggravate the crime by making 
it plain that the intention to commit it was 
deliberately formed and the crime itself 
planned before the ship sailed. Unfor- 
tunately the threats were not regarded as 
serious by the people intended to be affected 
( 134 ) 


by them. They apparently thought it im- 
possible that such an atrocity as the de- 
struction of their lives could be in the con- 
templation of the German Government. But 

they were mistaken, and the ship sailed. 

The Ship's Speed 

It appears that a question had arisen in 
the office of the Cunard Company shortly 
after the war broke out as to whether the 
transatlantic traffic would be sufficient to 
justify the Company in running their two big 
and expensive ships the " Lusitania " and 
the "Mauretania." The conclusion arrived at 
was that one of the two (the " Lusitania ") 
could be run once a month if the boiler power 
were reduced by one-fourth. The saving in 
coal and labour resulting from this reduc- 
tion would, it was thought, enable the Com- 
pany to avoid loss though not to make a 
profit. Accordingly six of the "Lusitania's" 
( 135 ) 


boilers were closed and the ship began to 
run in these conditions in November, 1914. 
She had made five round voyages in this 
way before the voyage in question in this 
enquiry. The effect of the closing of the 
six boilers was to reduce the attainable 
speed from 243^ to 21 knots. But this re- 
duction still left the "Lusitania" a consider- 
ably faster ship than any other steamer ply- 
ing across the Atlantic. In my opinion this 
reduction of the steamer's speed was of no 
significance and was proper in the circum- 


By the 7th of May the " Lusitania " had 
entered what is called the "Danger Zone," 
that is to say, she had reached the waters in 
which enemy submarines might be expected. 
The Captain had therefore taken precautions. 
He had ordered all the life-boats under davits 
( 136 ) 


to be swung out. He had ordered all bulk- 
head doors to be closed except such as were 
required to be kept open in order to work the 
ship. These orders had been carried out. 
The portholes were also closed. The lookout 
on the ship was doubled two men being 
sent to the crow's nest and two to the eyes 
of the ship. Two officers were on the bridge 
and a quartermaster was on either side with 
instructions to look out for submarines. 
Orders were also sent to the engine-room 
between noon and two P.M. of the 7th to 
keep the steam pressure very high in case of 
emergency and to give the vessel all possible 
speed if the telephone from the bridge should 

Up to 8 A.M. on the morning of the 7th 
the speed on the voyage had been main- 
tained at 21 knots. At 8 A.M. the speed was 
reduced to 18 knots. The object of this re- 
duction was to secure the ship's arrival out- 
( 137 ) 


side the bar at Liverpool at about 4 o'clock 
on the morning of the 8th, when the tide 
would serve to enable her to cross the bar 
into the Mersey at early dawn. Shortly 
after this alteration of the speed a fog came 
on and the speed was further reduced for a 
time to 15 knots. A little before noon the 
fog lifted and the speed was restored to 18 
knots, from which it was never subsequently 
changed. At this time land was sighted 
about two points abaft the beam, which 
the Captain took to be Brow Head; he 
could not, however, identify it with sufficient 
certainty to enable him to fix the position 
of his ship upon the chart. He therefore kept 
his ship on her course, which was S. 87 E. 
and about parallel with the land until 12:40, 
when, in order to make a better landfall he 
altered his course to N. 67 E. This brought 
him closer to the land, and he sighted the 
Old Head of Kinsale. He then (at 1:40 
( 138 ) 


P.M.) altered his course back to S. 87 E., 
and having steadied his ship on that course 
began (at 1 :50) to take a four-point bearing. 
This operation, which I am advised would 
occupy 30 or 40 minutes, was in process at 
the time when the ship was torpedoed, as 
hereafter described. 

At 2 P.M. the passengers were finishing 
their mid-day meal. 

At 2:10 P.M., when ten to fifteen miles off 
the Old Head of Kinsale, the weather being 
then clear and the sea smooth, the Captain, 
who was on the port side of the lower bridge, 
heard the call, "There is a torpedo coming, 
sir," given by the second officer. He looked 
to starboard and then saw a streak of foam 
in the wake of a torpedo travelling towards 
his ship. Immediately afterwards the " Lusi- 
tania" was struck on the starboard side some- 
where between the third and fourth funnels. 
The blow broke number 5 life-boat to splinters. 
( 139 ) 


A second torpedo was fired immediately 
afterwards, which also struck the ship on 
the starboard side. The two torpedoes 
struck the ship almost simultaneously. 

Both these torpedoes were discharged by 
a German submarine from a distance va- 
riously estimated at from two to five hun- 
dred yards. No warning of any kind was 
given. It is also in evidence that shortly 
afterwards a torpedo from another sub- 
marine was fired on the port side of the 
" Lusitania." This torpedo did not strike the 
ship, and the circumstance is only men- 
tioned for the purpose of showing that per- 
haps more than one submarine was taking 
part in the attack. 

The " Lusitania " on being struck took a 
heavy list to starboard and in less than 
twenty minutes she sank in deep water. 
Eleven hundred and ninety-eight men, 
women, and children were drowned. 
( 140 ) 


Sir Edward Carson, when opening the 
case, described the course adopted by the 
German Government in directing this at- 
tack as "contrary to International Law and 
the usages of war," and as constituting, 
according to the law of all civilized countries, 
" a deliberate attempt to murder the pas- 
sengers on board the ship.'* This statement 
is, in my opinion, true, and it is made in 
language not a whit too strong for the oc- 
casion. The defenceless creatures on board, 
made up of harmless men and women, and of 
helpless children, were done to death by the 
crew of the German submarine acting under 
the directions of the officials of the German 
Government. In the questions submitted to 
me by the Board of Trade I am asked, "What 
was the cause of the loss of life? " The answer 
is plain. The effective cause of the loss of 
life was the attack made against the ship by 
those on board the submarine. It was a 


murderous attack because made with a de- 
liberate and wholly unjustifiable intention 
of killing the people on board. German 
authorities on the laws of war at sea them- 
selves establish beyond all doubt that though 
in some cases the destruction of an enemy 
trader may be permissible there is always 
an obligation first to secure the safety of the 
lives of those on board. The guilt of the 
persons concerned in the present case is con- 
firmed by the vain excuses which have been 
put forward on their behalf by the German 
Government as before mentioned. 

One witness, who described himself as a 
French subject from the vicinity of Switzer- 
land, and who was in the second-class dining- 
room in the after part of the ship at the time 
of the explosion, stated that the nature of 
the explosion was "similar to the rattling of 
a maxim gun for a short period," and sug- 
gested that this noise disclosed the "secret " 
.( 142 ) 


existence of some ammunition. The sound, 
he said, came from underneath the whole 
floor. I did not believe this gentleman. 
His demeanour was very unsatisfactory. 
There was no confirmation of his story, and 
it appeared that he had threatened the 
Cunard Company that if they did not make 
him some immediate allowance on account 
of a claim which he was putting forward 
for compensation, he would have the un- 
pleasant duty of making his claim in public, 
and, in so doing, of producing "evidence 
which will not be to the credit either of your 
Company or of the Admiralty." The Com- 
pany had not complied with his request. 

It may be worth while noting that Leith, 
the Marconi operator, was also in the second- 
class dining-saloon at the time of the ex- 
plosion. He speaks of but one explosion. 
In my opinion there was no explosion of any 
part of the cargo. 

( 143) 


Orders Given and Work Done after the 

The Captain was on the bridge at the 
tune his ship was struck, and he remained 
there giving orders until the ship foundered. 
His first order was to lower all boats to the 
rail. This order was obeyed as far as it 
possibly could be. He then called out, 
"Women and children first." The order 
was then given to hard-a-starboard the 
helm with a view to heading towards the 
land, and orders were telegraphed to the 
engine-room. The orders given to the en- 
gine-room are difficult to follow and there is 
obvious confusion about them. It is not, 
however, important to consider them, for the 
engines were put out of commission almost 
at once by the inrush of water and ceased 
working, and the lights in the engine-room 
were blown out. 

Leith, the Marconi operator, immediately 
( 144 ) 


sent out an S. 0. S. signal, and, later on, 
another message, " Come at once, big list, 10 
miles south Head Old Kinsale." These mes- 
sages were repeated continuously and were 
acknowledged. At first, the messages were 
sent out by the power supplied from the 
ship's dynamo; but in three or four minutes 
this power gave out, and the messages were 
sent out by means of the emergency appara- 
tus in the wireless cabin. 

All the collapsible boats were loosened 
from their lashings and freed so that they 
could float when the ship sank. 

The Launching of the Life-Boats 

Complaints were made by some of the 
witnesses about the manner in which the boats 
were launched and about their leaky condi- 
tion when in the water. I do not question 
the good faith of these witnesses, but I 
think their complaints were ill-founded. 
( 145 ) 


Three difficulties presented themselves in 
connection with the launching of the boats. 
First, the time was very short: only twenty 
minutes elapsed between the first alarm and 
the sinking of the ship. Secondly, the ship 
was under way the whole time: the engines 
were put out of commission almost at once, 
so that the way could not be taken off. 
Thirdly, the ship instantly took a great list 
to starboard, which made it impossible to 
launch the port side boats properly and ren- 
dered it very difficult for the passengers to get 
into the starboard boats. The port side 
boats were thrown inboard and the starboard 
boats inconveniently far outboard. 

In addition to these difficulties there were 
the well-meant but probably disastrous at- 
tempts of the frightened passengers to assist 
in the launching operations. Attempts were 
made by the passengers to push some of the 
boats on the port side off the ship and to 
( 146) 


get them to the water. Some of these boats 
caught on the rail, and capsized. One or 
two did, however, reach the water, but I am 
satisfied that they were seriously damaged in 
the operation. They were lowered a dis- 
tance of 60 feet or more with people hi them, 
and must have been fouling the side of the 
ship the whole tune. In one case the stern 
post was wrenched away. The result was 
that these boats leaked when they reached 
the water. Captain Anderson was superin- 
tending the launching operations, and, in my 
opinion, did the best that could be done in 
the circumstances. Many boats were low- 
ered on the starboard side, and there is 
no satisfactory evidence that any of them 

There were doubtless some accidents in 
the handling of the ropes, but it is impossible 
to impute negligence or incompetence in 
connection with them. 

( 147 ) 


The conclusion at which I arrive is that the 
boats were in good order at the moment of 
the explosion and that the launch ing was 
carried out as well as the short time, the 
moving ship and the serious list would allow. 

Both the Captain and Mr. Jones, the First 
Officer, hi their evidence state that everything 
was done that was possible to get the boats 
out and to save lives, and this I believe to 
be true. 


At the request of the Attorney-General 
part of the evidence in the Enquiry was 
taken in camera. This course was adopted 
in the public interest. The evidence hi ques- 
tion dealt, firstly, with certain advice given 
by the Admiralty to navigators generally 
with reference to precautions to be taken 
for the purpose of avoiding submarine at- 
tacks; and secondly, with information fur- 
( 148 ) 


nished by the Admiralty to ^Captain Turner 
individually of submarine dangers likely to 
be encountered by him in the voyage of 
the " Lusitania." It would defeat the object 
which the Attorney-General had hi view if 
I were to discuss these matters in detail in 
my report; and I do not propose to do so. 
But it was made abundantly plain to me 
that the Admiralty had devoted the most 
anxious care and thought to the questions 
arising out of the submarine peril, and that 
they had diligently collected all available 
information likely to affect the voyage of the 
" Lusitania" in this connection. I donotknow 
who the officials were to whom these duties 
were entrusted, but they deserve the highest 
praise for the way hi which they did their work. 
Captain Turner was fully advised as to 
the means which in the view of the Admiralty 
were best calculated to avert the perils he 
was likely to encounter, and hi considering 
( 149 ) 


the question whether he is to blame for the 
catastrophe in which his voyage ended I have 
to bear this circumstance in mind. It is 
certain that in some respects Captain Turner 
did not follow the advice given to him. It 
may be (though I seriously doubt it) that 
had he done so his ship would have reached 
Liverpool in safety. But the question re- 
mains, was his conduct the conduct of a 
negligent or of an incompetent man. On 
this question I have sought the guidance of 
my assessors, who have rendered me in- 
valuable assistance, and the conclusion at 
which I have arrived is that blame ought not 
to be imputed to the Captain. The advice 
given to him, although meant for his most 
serious and careful consideration, was not 
intended to deprive him of the right to 
exercise his skilled judgment in the difficult 
questions that might arise from time to time 
in the navigation of his ship. His omission 
( 150 ) 


to follow the advice in all respects cannot 
fairly be attributed either to negligence or 

He exercised his judgment for the best. 
It was the judgment of a skilled and ex- 
perienced man, and although others might 
have acted differently and perhaps more suc- 
cessfully, he ought not, in my opinion, to be 

The whole blame for the cruel destruction 
of life in this catastrophe must rest solely 
with those who plotted and with those who 
committed the crime. 


The above is called the "Annex" to the 
"Finding of the Court." This latter I do 
not reprint for it consists only of 21 ques- 
tions, the answers to which are found in the 

A notice in "The Daily Telegraph" 
(London) of May 12, announced that 
( 151 ) 


"The Board of Trade have ordered a formal 
investigation into the circumstances attend- 
ing the loss of the S.S. ' Lusitania,' and they 
desire to invite passengers of the * Lusitania ' 
who now are, or will shortly be in or near 
London, and who are able to supply evi- 
dence likely to be of value for the Inquiry, 
to communicate at once, either personally or 
by letter or telegram, to the Solicitor of 
the Board of Trade, at the Hotel Metropole, 
Northumberland Avenue, Charing-Cross, 
W. C.; with a view to statements being 
taken from them at the said address, be- 
tween the hours of eleven A.M. and six P.M. 
during the week commencing Wednesday, 
the 12th instant, and ending, and including, 
Tuesday the 18th instant. 

" The Inquiry will be conducted by the 
Law Officers, who may be relied upon to see 
that all material points consistent with the 
public interest will be dealt with." 
( 152) 


I know that some passengers did appear 
and did make official statements which they 
signed. Others laid evidence informally be- 
fore the Solicitor, and while they did not 
sign statements, they were in London dur- 
ing the Official Inquiry and could have been 
summoned and would have testified. 

The following testimony, for example, was 
informally offered: that the portholes were 
open, that the discipline of the officers and 
crew was not what it should have been, that 
the collapsible boats were not fitted with 
oars and were not in proper working condi- 
tion, etc. None of this evidence seems to 
have been desired by his Lordship and his 
Assessors, or at least there is nothing to 
show that it was ever laid before them. 

I do not question the sincerity of the 
findings of Lord Mersey's Court, based on 
the evidence placed before it; but what be- 
came of this informal evidence, as quoted 
( 153 ) 


above, and much more that was laid before 
the Solicitor of the Board of Trade? 

The Court finds that "the portholes were 
closed." On what and on whose evidence? 
The above statement can hardly be made on 
the evidence of the Captain; for when he 
testified before the Coroner of Kinsale, in 
reply to the question, "What precautions 
did you take in connection with these 
threats?" (referring to the Notice from 
the German Imperial Embassy which ap- 
peared in the New York papers of May 1), 
he stated that "I had all the boats swung 
out and the bulkhead doors closed when we 
came within the danger zone." (" The Daily 
Telegraph," May 11.) 

The Captain had the lifeboats swung out 
Thursday morning, twenty-four hours before 
the disaster, but I know of no evidence that 
shows that he ever ordered the portholes 
closed. If he had, it is fair to presume he 
( 154) 


would have mentioned it when he testified 
that he had ordered the bulkhead doors 

There is evidence that at least two life- 
boats, each containing about fifty people, 
were dropped when almost 20 feet from the 
water. A survivor of one of these boats told 
me that the man for'ard, who had charge 
of the rope, simply let it run out through 
his hands. He was not one of the "frightened 
passengers" but one of the crew. It seems 
to me quite possible in this instance "to 
impute negligence" and "incompetence in 
connection with them" (the ropes). 

In another part of the report Lord Mersey 
states that "no doubt there were mishaps in 
handling the ropes of the boats and in other 
such matters, but there was, in my opinion, 
no incompetence or neglect, and I am satis- 
fied that the crew behaved well throughout, 
and worked with skill and judgment." 
( 155 ) 


Just above this in the report one reads: 
*'That, since the commencement of the war, 
the Cunard Company has lost all its Royal 
Reserve and Fleet Reserve men, and the 
managers have had to take on the best men 
they could get and to train them as well as 
might be in the time at their disposal." Is 
it likely that any officer could take un- 
trained men and in a few weeks, or even 
months, make such efficient seamen of them 
that they could, in a disaster of this magni- 
tude, work '* with skill and judgment " ? 
I do not believe it could be done. 

As one of the passengers who was moving 
around the deck and saw the heroic efforts 
made by his fellow passengers to achieve that 
which the crew utterly failed to accomplish, 
I resent, with every spark of manhood that 
is in me, the finding of Lord Mersey's Court 
when he says that "Probably (the) disas- 
trous attempts of the frightened passengers 
( 156 ) 


to assist in the launching operations" added 
to the "difficulties" the officers and crew 
found in trying to lower the boats. 

I would suggest adding to the "difficul- 
ties" mentioned above the following: lack 
of discipline among the crew and the lack 
of expert knowledge as to the handling of 
the boats, knowledge that can come only 
to the well-trained crew. 

He says of this wonderful crew that 
"many more than half of them lost their 
lives." I suppose that is because the other 
hah* "worked with skill and judgment." 

It would seem that Lord Mersey measures 
"skill and judgment" by the number that 
were lost; and if so, why doesn't he pass the 
same relative judgment on the passengers 
who lost their lives? He mentions figures, 
but here are the totals: There were 1,257 
passengers and 472 were saved. To have 
been consistent, he should have written 
( 157) 


after the paragraph, "In addition to these 
difficulties there were the well-meant but 
probably disastrous attempts of the fright- 
ened passengers to assist in the launching 
operations," the following: "Many more 
than half their number lost their lives." 
From what, pray? Because they were 
"frightened," or because the crew acted 
with "skill and judgment"? 

It doesn't seem to me that this Court of 
Inquiry has stood up to its business like the 
historic Briton who isn't afraid to take his 
medicine, and place blame where it should 
be placed; rather, it has hidden behind 
the act itself, which it finds "was done not 
merely with the intention of sinking the 
ship, but also with the intention of destroy- 
ing the lives of the people aboard." 

So for the Captain, the Court finds that 
he acted with "the judgment of a skilled and 
experienced man, and . . . ought not . . . 
( 158 ) 


to be blamed"; for the Crew and Officers, 
that their "conduct . . . was satisfactory. 
They did their best . . . and their best was 
good"; for the Cunard Line, that the "re- 
duction of the steamer's speed was of no 
significance and was proper in the circum- 
stances." And what does this honorable 
Court find for the passengers who entrusted 
their lives to the judgment of the Captain 
and those under him? To wit, that "some 
of the passengers attempted to assist in 
launching the boats . . . and did more 
harm than good," and that "the frightened 
passengers (made) probably disastrous at- 
tempts to assist in the launching operations." 

'And though thou thinkest that thou knowest sure 
Thy victory, yet thou canst not surely know. 
For we are all, like swimmers in the sea, 
Poised on the top of a huge wave of fate, 
Which hangs uncertain to which side to fall. 
And whether it will heave us up to land, 
Or whether it will roll us out to sea, 
Back out to sea, to the deep waves of death, 
We know not, and no search will make us know; 
Only the event will teach us in its hour." 

(Cfte flit 

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